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  • Another newbie with questions...

    I have been playing the part of a planted aquarium enthusiast for the last 6 months or so and have moved all over the map with regard to setup. To make this short and to the point, I have four tanks now that are planted to varying degrees and all very different. All of them are poorly fertilized, one has pressurized CO2, one with DIY, one with Excel, and one with just algae. My filtration ranges from under gravel to sump and back again. I have fish in all the tanks, but some of them seem to have an extreme like for ripping my plants to shreds. Some plants grow great in one but not the other, some just look horrible, some just will not grow at all, and worst yet I have another tank that I am thinking about setting up with all of this mess.

    Confused or disoriented? Welcome to my world. I find everything fascinating and can sit for hours and just watch the plants or fish or shrimp...but...there is some cohesion missing with all of this. I feel overwhelmed, perplexed, or even just plain stupid when it comes to all of this.

    I am looking for advice to bring some order to this chaos, preferably without taking down any of the tanks. I have not provided specifics because I really do not want to change setups. What I want is to learn from each and be able to experience which is best and adjust accordingly.

    Do you log your tanks, keep a journal, take photo logs, just sit and watch? I love this hobby, but I just feel like I have thrown (literally) this all together that I am just trying to bring it back under control. What would you all do, anyone been in this situation before or am I just being stupid? I feel like I have discovered a new disorder and its some weird combination of ADD and OCD but only occurs when in the presence of fish!

    Any advice or overall ridicule is welcome.

  • #2
    My first thought is that you are trying to do too much too soon. But, that just reflects how I approach things. I prefer to have a single tank, spend a long time learning how to make it work, using one method. And, only after I think I understand it well enough to be able to keep an algae free tank with healthy plants and fish, try another method. (For me "algae free" means very little algae for most of the time, providing I keep up with tank maintenance).

    My advice would be to pick one of the tanks and concentrate on making it work well. Spending a lot of time studying the information here is a great way to speed up the learning.


    • #3
      I agree with Hoppy. Each tank you have is operating with a different method for keeping them--hightech pressurised co2, excel tank, tank with no carbon enrichment. You're seeing that there isnt just one way to do things. Find something that is taylored to your interests, budget, and personal habits/routine.

      That being said, I have 2 tanks and 1 "holding tank". One is "high tech", the other is just plain "leave it alone". They are both doing great, and I love that this hobby is so broad. I too am fascinated by the numerous aspects of this hobby. Just when I think I have learned/mastered one aspect, I find that there is a whole other side that I "just HAVE to learn". It usually ends up with the purchase of another piece of equipment that I just can't do without, or worse finding out later that the expensive piece I bought in haste I dont really need at all!

      The other thing I can say is read, read, read. Learn, learn, learn. Forums like these are invaluable to sorting out the different aspects of the hobby, and are a great supplement to your ADD/OCD "addiction" I can spend just as much time here as I can watching my tank or getting my hands wet.

      Good luck and have fun!

      -Mike B-


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses. I was a little frazzled this morning and Mike, I think you hit the nail on the head. Having fun has not been part of the routine.

        This is a hobby and not work for me, and maybe that is where the disconnect has been. I would really like to start journaling my tanks out, and start to study the way things go. Like you I have made so many purchases over the last 6 months that I really do not know what really helped or hurt anything. Time to calm down, grab a book and read some...or at least relax and start to enjoy this a little more than making it a job.

        Thanks for the therapy, hope you all do not charge by the hour

        Hoppy, thanks for the wise words. Learning from reading all of this has been a great way for me to calm my wandering eyes and focus a little more on just getting the basics of fertilization down and then see where the tanks go from there.

        Thanks again to you both and I ask for anyone else to chime in to give me their 2 cents or more worth of advice.

        - Chris


        • #5
          Originally posted by intermediate_noob View Post
          Do you log your tanks, keep a journal, take photo logs, just sit and watch? I love this hobby, but I just feel like I have thrown (literally) this all together that I am just trying to bring it back under control. What would you all do, anyone been in this situation before or am I just being stupid? I feel like I have discovered a new disorder and its some weird combination of ADD and OCD but only occurs when in the presence of fish!

          Any advice or overall ridicule is welcome.
          I've done some of each.
          I suggest focus on one method at a time, get to know everything you can about it.

          Say non CO2, easy as pie. Simple.

          Then try DIY CO2 on say a 10 to 20 Gallon tank.


          Watching the plants over time is the best thing to do.
          They will tell you all you need to know as far what to do and results.

          Tom Barr


          • #6
            Thanks, Tom. I appreciate it. I think it is all a matter of focus and drive to keep pushing forward.

            Once again I appreciate all the support and patience with dealing with someone like me.


            • #7
              I know what you feel like, I'm kind of the same way I try hard not to change things before I get the idea of whether what I'm already doing works or not...but I just can't seem to help myself. A tank log/blog or whatever may force you to settle down and think before you mess around. I also have the uncontrollable urge to start up new tanks before I have any problems solved with the ones I have. It's a good thing that I'm on a very strict budget or the house would probably be filled with mayhem in the form of tanks in various degrees of working towards perfection (a long road that never really ends). Right now I've settled down on 3 tanks but it's no sooner I get one going that I'm looking for a good excuse for another.

              I'm probably a poor person to ask for advice but two things I would start doing if I were you...
              1. Tank log
              2. Fertilization

              What Tom says is good too...pick what you're doing and don't change it. i.e. non-co2, diy co2, etc. I have 1 non-co2 (got the urge to start co2 today but stifled it), 1 diy co2, and one el natural. It satisfies my desire to try different things so I don't keep changing what I already have.
              Last edited by Carissa; 10-24-2007, 02:38 AM.
              Check out my site


              • #8
                Carissa, thanks and any advice now is taken and absorbed. Anyone in this hobby can learn from somone else, or at least that is how I feel about it.

                You sound a lot like me when it comes to tanks. I went from a 55 with fake plants to a 135 planted, to a 20 planted, then planted the original 55, then setup another 20, then setup a high tech 55, then DIY CO2, then pressurized CO2, and now you see how this whole post started. Funny, the tanks with the best growth and "plant happines" are my little 20 hex with about 2 WPG and diy CO2 and my non-CO2 55 with only about 1.1 WPG and an undergravel filter even! My crypts never looked so good! Anyway, focus on the basics, build up good habits, and then branch out. I think that is a good plan. Thanks.


                • #9
                  You need one method to fall back on that does work however.
                  From there, you can branch out and discover how to do things better and make your life easier.

                  The two methods you suggest both have relatively low light, so that's a good overall thing to remember, more light= more work and harder to keep up on.

                  More light is not better, it's HLD.

                  High light disease.

                  Tom Barr


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tom Barr View Post
                    High light disease.
                    Hahaha...... I just have plain old PTD.....when I get the $$ I'll upgrade to HLD.
                    Check out my site


                    • #11
                      Instead of starting another thread for basically the same topic, I thought I would post another question here:

                      I have been reading more here and other forums and I really like the idea of lower tech, lower water change tanks, especially for my 135 gallon. I have about 2.44 WPG, no CO2, inert substrate, and very low plant mass.

                      I know that I need to add plant mass to get to a better equilibrium with the fish waste, and combat algae but I have a problem in that my tank is stocked with Geophagus sp. "Bahia Red" and Heros serverus cichlids. The Geophagus sift the sand all day and the Severums eat or rearrange the plants.

                      My idea is, since I cannot tear it down, is to pot well established plants from another tank in nutrient rich soil and use these in the large tank to add more plant mass. This would give me the ability to remove, trim, and replant additional species as necessary without disrupting the current substrate or tank too much. The idea of terracotta pots does not really appeal to me so I thought of taking Tupperware containers, drilling some holes for circulation, and maybe attaching some rocks or something to have them look more like the landscape, but still removable. I have read about people doing this and have researched it but wanted to get your opinions on it.

                      Does this sound feasible to you all? Any advice would be appreciated.

                      In addition, is there any problem or issue with establishing plants in a high-tech tank and then moving them into a low-tech tank?

                      Thanks Again,
                      - Chris