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Ancient Plus
Username: sully

Post Number: 8300
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 09:41 am:       

hard to believe isn't it? something resembling thought does occur in this brain of mine. the following is really more like ramblings though.

Got some glox (Glossostigma0 last night. just a small pot of it. spent 4.99 and am feeling ripped off--lol. But I weeded the tank last Saturday and got many times that in store credit somewhere else. so, i guess i should take it like a man. Is there anything special I should know about the care for glox? I'm at 4 watts right now and can easily go to 5 by adding lights that are laying about.

Thinking of weeding. I eliminated a lot of the rotalla (sp?) from the tank. have some stems of it at one end of the tank. Not many. I left the tank predominantly red ludwigia for tall stalk plants. It seems that if I let the tank go for 2 weeks I have an incredible amount of growth that needs to be pruned. And, as I let the incredible amount of growth occur I also pick up some filamentous algae. more than some. it seems to love the over grown conditions and gains an edge on the plants. Not enough light penetrating through the plant canopy that develops? Not enough fertilizer being added to meet the needs of the plants once I let them turn to jungle? my guess is a combination of the two--with a strong leaning towards light penetration.

When I eliminate the canopy and continue with the same (even reduced) fertilizations I get great plant growth, the algae gets knocked back--even the stuff that looks well established on the leaves, and the algae virually vanishes. except for a bit on the edges of anubius nana. I do water changes concurrent with the pruning. I see lots of pearling for 3-4 days. on day 5 the pearling slows down. day 6 it is more like random bubbles throughout the tank. Day 7 gets the water change. And, if pruned the pearling starts seriously all over again. left unpruned the damaged parts of swords pearl--oxygen escaping through holes in leaves--but the rest of the tank is more like heavy bubbling, not nice pearling.

I did learn the hard way that there is a serious need to keep the top of the tank skimmed clean of plant/leaf matter that floats up on a daily basis--dang severums juveniles do some damage, wish they would grow faster--lol. without the daily skimming the plant debris is a wonderful algae breeding ground.

Pruning (hopefully I get some more delicate pruning tools. Ones that make a finer cut on the stems). This is the area i thought i understood from my gardening outside, reading and experience with low tech tanks. once again i over estimated my understanding. I have defaulted to the ludwigia because when i prune down as tight as I can to the node at the top of the leaves I get little if any algae and great growth of lower stems branching out. With the rotella, cabomba and fpxtail i trimmed in the same fashion and got great algae at and several nodes below the trim point with some branching out or bushing out of the lower parts of the plants. am I doing the pruning to create "bushy" looking stalk plants properly? is there some secret i missed? or, is my experience consistent for the type of plant?

The Alternanthera reineckii loves to grow. Is lower leaf loss common? Who the hell decided this was a midground plant. Mine gets tall as all get out. i am thinking of letting it get tall and bush out at higher levels. Then filling in around its base with shorter clippings to create the total "bush" look. Is this how it is done? or do I need to examine fertilizers more closely?

Pruning. seems to me the tank stays healthier (more algae free, if I keep after it every couple of days. Instead of my practice (as most people on this site know--this is an incredibly busy time of year for me) of letting it grow like hell for a week or two, then pruning heavily (really weeding) to regain control of the tank from the plants. And, i am getting better, bushy, growth with the every other day at worst mode of pruning. Am i going down the right path with my thinking here? am i really pruning to train bush like growth properly?

All in all the Co2 "injected" tank is not all that different from the low tech tank--things just happen a whole lot faster. and, you get to grow some different (nicer?) plants.
"I usually read the obituaries first. There is always the happy chance that one of them will make my day." -- Richard Ames
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Username: shay

Post Number: 1000
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 12:54 pm:       

I love your ramblings Sully. I wish I had time to address them all. Hopefully Brad or Steve will drop in here. Your right. High tech tanks are similar in a lot fo respects. The margin of error is slimmer though. A nutrient deficiency that might not be apparent in low light conditions for months will pop up in a matter of days under your conditions.

I think your on the right track with pruning. I prune my tank once a week and every couple of months I really clear it out. I think we both might be better off spending 10 minutes a day or 15 minutes every other day making small changes and cuts but it's hard to do this and may make the hobby less enjoyable if you have other demands on your time.

One thing I think you may have overlooked where the tank gets overgrown and algae appears is reduced water flow. You may be adding adequate amounts of fertilizer but it may not be reaching all the plants. Same for co2.

Pruning techniques are one of the hardest aspects of the hobby for me. It's one of the main reasons I'm working on DVAGA. It sounds like you are topping off the stem plants. Are you replanting the tops or tossing them? Theoretically topping is supposed to give you a bushier look. My experience has been (particularly with the alternathera) that topping off left me with a leggy stem and the a bushy top, I do better when I pull the stem entirely and replant the top. Of course, it will be different in every tank.

Vectrapoint publishing is publishing English versions of Aquaplant now. Some of the issues have in depth articles on pruning various plants. I'm going to order theenglish versions soon. I'd be happy to share the articles with you. Also, we are going to be videotaping Jeff Senske's demonstration and I'm sure he will cover pruning techniques.
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (
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Advanced Member
Username: kimrin

Post Number: 2211
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 01:17 pm:       

great questions Sully, glad you asked them so I can benefit from the answers too.

Erin will you share any new pruning info you get with all of us?

thanks. :-)
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Advanced Member
Username: brad

Post Number: 1657
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 02:00 pm:       


I wasn`t going to poste anything because I really don`t know much about prunning. I struggle with it as much as anyone but feel I learn best when I`m in a pinch. I do get ''bushier'' plants by topping. However, depending on the plant, it`s usually from just below where I snipped. So either I start prunning very low to get a bushy plant from the base, or I end up replanting the tops after a few weeks. I haven`t scaped my tank. Not even a first attempt. I started just throwing any plant I liked wherever it would fit to see what would grow and have been procrastinating ever since. My first excuse was I was changing over to Flouite. Now I have 90 lbs of it just sitting in my closet and I`m waiting to get my ADA substrate. Then there was the driftwood swap. The snowblower took care of the that.

Your Glosso though, should grow absolutely fine. You`ll feel better about the money spent when you start selling pads or it back to other suckers who can`t get any (like me) for twice what you paid. ;)
Ever feel like you`re flying and drowning at the same time?
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Ancient Plus
Username: sully

Post Number: 8309
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2006 - 02:04 pm:       

brad, for you it is free.

steve, first batch is $25.00 (is that the right number? or was it $20.00?) AFTER THAT IT IS FREE. LOL.
"I usually read the obituaries first. There is always the happy chance that one of them will make my day." -- Richard Ames
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Ancient Plus
Username: sully

Post Number: 8240
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 10:48 am:       

as an addendum to the ramblings. i am going to edit these pearls--the past photos and narratives--and come up with my "experience" getting started.

i found that the aerials were a problem when left unattended. they seem to be the breeding ground for algae as well. especially when i got lazy and did not prune the tank often enough and the "canopy" thickened.

erin, great comment about circulation/flow. i played with that a bit. and with the circulation issue i played with the Co2, needle valve, bubble counter, and reactor chamber a bit, as well as the pH setting on my pinpoint system, and the directional output of the flow.

I dropped the pinpoint to 6.7 pH target as midpoint. then I adjusted the upper and lower limits so that i was plus or minus .1 in the pH value.

Let me preface the following comments with a disclaimer. i only set the bubble counter up because it came with the system and was in the set-up diagram. not sure why i really have it, other than as a general, visual, indicator of how I have adjusted the output of the tank and regulator valve. I do not even attempt to count the bubbles per.

I started out with my regulator opened wide. when the pinpoint system tripped the valve i would get large bursts of Co2 into the system. it was a Co2 eructation at the output end (i hesitate to call it a diffuser). Large bubbles of Co2 would blast into the tank along with the dissolved Co2 from the reactor.

Two problems. the pH would drop well below my low end limit because the probe was far enough away that it could not register the Co2 induced shift in pH fast enough. I went through the first tank of Co2 quickly--3 weeks. i decided even though Co2 is cheap I was wasting it. I mean the plants near the output from the reactor/powerhead return were blowing wildly in the "wind".

So, i choked the Co2 back--way back. I never noticed any bubbles of Co2 coming from the output flow of the powerhead. I left the flow direction the same. I got great growth closest to the output. really good growth midway across the 75. then a perceptible drop in growth at the opposite end of the tank. Interestingly i also had the most algae issues at the far end of the tank to go along with reduced plant growth rate. coincidentally this is also the end that the Aqua Clear 300 is set-up. Plant growth rates and algea issues were very nearly identical with both Co2 volume levels.

About the flow direction. the pH probe is set near the 2/3 point in the tank, at the back, closest to the Co2 output. The flow itself is in the right hand, back corner as you look at the tank. it was pointed to run up the right side of the tank and bounce off the front glass. it created a noticeable clockwise flow of water down low in the tank. not to much tumbling of water. very little of the flow was bounced off the front glass and back towards the pH probe.

That type of flow pattern was consistent during the first two adjustments of Co2 into the reactor. The pH levels stayed close in terms of actual levels--the valley was eliminated. like mentioned earlier i noticed no real difference in algae or growth.

IMPORTANT POINT. the pearling level of the tank which purportedly lets me know about growth was about the same. I would call it marginal to poor. lots of days there was random bubbles at best. many days i could say i had no visual indication of pearling or bubbling.

I made a fundamental change in "flow direction when i put the third tank of Co2 into play. (editors note--there is another variable in play to think of--how i adjust the Co2 flow to the reactor. more in following paragraphs about that).

I turned the end of the output "hose/elbow" so that instead of the Co2 saturated water glancing off the side glass and turning the corner at the front glass it was shot diagonally across the tank to the opposite (front left) corner (i am thinking that if i change it so that it shoots from the mid point of the sidewall on a straight line to the opposite wall i may get better results--i will try that on the fourth tank of Co2).

I got much better results algae wise at the opposite end of the tank. I also got more even growth of the same species of plant tank wide. The opposite end of the tank is still slower--just not as noticeably slower.

Sort of neat what flow direction achieves. The water current is fighting through more of the vegetation. but, it seems to get Co2 more evenly distributed to the plants.

I mentioned Co2 volume earlier. I used to think of it as how much Co2 do I waste. Not anymore. I started with magnificent Co2 bubbles coming from the output. I shifted to no noticeable Co2 bubbles in the output from the reactor. Now I have adjusted the needle valve so that as the Co2 passes through the reactor chamber it is once again not totally dissolved into the water. The look of it sort of reminds me of Don Ho--tiny bubbles. I mean tiny bubbles (wish i could figure out how to make them more consistently small). It almost looks like the bubbles coming from "pearling plants" but, it is not pearling. I thought it was at first, but then i got up close and personal with it--lol. if you can, picture sully with his nose pushed to the glass, terrifying the fish that live with the plants--watching bubbles in the tank (ed. am i the guy that said he did not want to micro manage--i guess i think of Co2 as a "macro" issue--lol).

I have gotten the reactor to dissolve a bunch of the Co2 and leave some as undissolved and bubbling into the water column. I like the results this way the best. I get more even growth throughout the tank. I get better growth throughout the tank, I have significantly reduced my algae concerns. and i am certain i am wasting a bunch of Co2--but i don't think of it as waste since this seemingly gets me what i am after.

I know I am doing it wrong--but what the hell. I guess that is the beauty of the off and on reading over the years. nobody in the plant world seems to be able to find their butts with both hands. one guy contradicts another, and is in turn contradicted by a third that i really feel like there are very few "rules". Maybe that is why i stayed away from the higher tech tank for so long.

Brad, i am finally to my first goal. understanding the very basics--whatever they are. Or, at least, setting up a baseline of satisfaction with my tank. Now I will begin to play with fertilizers--been using Seachem stuff, The lfs that i shop stopped carrying the Kent stuff I liked so much. I guess it is time to get to Greg Watson--i put my son off about the b-day present. he got me a back massaging thing to put in my desk chair instead. getting old and the back is going downhill--lol.

So, erin. it was a long answer to your question. but, yes, i think flow/circulation contributed to my problem as the "canopy" thickend.

please forgive typos and improper spelling. the spel check always lights up my previews--only to find it is wrong--and i wrote enough crap that there is no way i am going to check it.
"I usually read the obituaries first. There is always the happy chance that one of them will make my day." -- Richard Ames
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