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  1. Very cool! Are you doing any other trees outside of aquariums?
  2. I'll preface that what I'm gonna say is mostly opinion but I'll share what I've experienced so far. I'll try to share some points of concern for you to consider just so you know what you will need to keep an eye out for while injecting co2. But a lot of concerns that you have at the moment mainly hinge on scenarios where folks try to walk the razors edge and dump an enormous amount of co2 trying to compensate for ridiculously high lights or demanding plants. Since I don't think that you will be injecting co2 to those extremes at the start, you wont be posing any issues pertaining to your fish. But very generally, as long as you monitor your fish whenever you make co2 adjustments, you shouldn't have a problem. My main advice is to take things slowly and make small incremental adjustments over time. Since you sound quite experienced I'm sure you'll see major improvements even with the tiniest amount of co2. A little will go a long way if you can create favorable conditions. 1. If you can provide your specific gh/kh parameters we'll have a better idea on what kind of issues you should look out for but yes, co2 will affect all three one way or another. Since co2 is acidic, driftwoods and certain stones can raise or lower gh/kh as they are being dissolved in the water. Understanding the relation ph/gh/kh and how they work together is important but kh should be your first concern of the three. You'll find ph fluctuates throughout the day which is normal but the lower the kh of your tank is, the more prone you are of dropping your ph too low. Ideally you would want some kh, at least 3dKh to give you some room for mistakes. The kind of fish you have will also dictate how much co2 you can inject into your system. Introducing co2 slowly would be key to allow your fish to acclimate to the adjustments. 2. As said before you do run the risk of gassing your fish but it mostly happens if you are carelessly cranking the co2 or if you buy a low quality regulator. You'll hear 30 ppm co2 as a benchmark of how much co2 you should have in your tank but its not really a good measurement. Aiming for the 30ppm range especially when you are new is where you'll start getting into trouble. Unless you are trying to grow the absolute most demanding plants, you'll have good success with even half that amount. But if you are so inclined you can find ph/kh/co2 charts online or use a drop checker for co2 measurements but understand each of these tests have their own pitfalls that only tell you half the story. There are so many interactions happening in your tank that its hard to account for factors than will skew test results. Personally I think you are far better off looking at the response from your plants and fish instead of trying to chase numbers. A few things you should consider is that temperature plays a role in how well gases can be dissolved into water. Warmer water can hold less o2/co2 than it can when its colder. Circulation is much more important than a high concentration of co2. Co2 is useless if you don't have an adequate delivery system to transport co2 and nutrients around the tank. Good surface agitation allows for gas exchange that helps prevent co2 building up to a lethal level. Keeping in mind that you can kill your fish with co2 poisoning even if your plants are pearling and you have high oxygen saturation. 3. If your regulator is hooked up to a solenoid, then I wouldn't ben concerned about power outages. I don't even think your plants will be affected by a blackout for a few days since your plants won't need co2 if lights are off. Now if your power is out for like a week you might get a little melting but you'll be back on track in no time with co2. You may not even need it, but having an air pump that can plug into a power bank would be nice to have in case. Sorry if I'm being way too elaborate but the last thing I want to be is vague/unclear in this matter. I'm not trying to scare you in anyway just share some issues I ran into. Definitely take everything I said with a grain of salt and use my topics to direct you in areas you should research. I'm pretty biased on some of my points and may very well be wrong but my goal is for you to know what to look into so you can come to your own conclusions. I'm sure you know by now how hard it is to parse through information online. If you haven't already, it might be fun to document your progress in a journal so we can all follow along. Good luck!
  3. I think those plants will do fine in your setup especially with a shallow tank I wouldn't be too concerned with light penetration. Theres a possibility you might not get the full on deep red from your scarlet temple but it sounds like this plant gives a lot of people that trouble. Good luck!
  4. Added new plants last week Most of the plants are almost converted, probably 2-3 weeks out till I can replant and scrap the old growth. I also switched out my last 4000k led tube with another flora bulb. Its almost a little too pink but I will probably run with this until I see signs that I'm using too much light.
  5. @Gator If you have a decent amount of plants, a large water change might be able to get you that pearling effect.
  6. Glad to hear you are seeing progress! Even if the algae isn't going away, plant growth is still a good sign. If you enjoy light reading, I recommend looking up plant respiration at night. It might explain the increased growth you're seeing.
  7. I have the stingray 2 on a 10 gallon which I think is same height to your tank and I would say it is at least medium lighting maybe med/high without a lid on the tank. But low/med/high might differ depending who you ask. For me it's either too little or too much. Without knowing which version stingray you have, this might help. Theres a par comparison of the 2 versions under a few different circumstances.
  8. I'd imagine so, I stockpile my extra stem plants and grow them emersed just so I don't lose certain varieties and those are just grown in mud basically. Other than that I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't be safe. I can't really speak to why it didn't work out for your val... Val tends to be pretty sensitive to changes for me but I would chalk it up to you getting unlucky with that runner.
  9. If you are planning to only use dirt as your source or nutrients then I can see how sand might be problematic for you. I wouldn't say sand is the worst for stem plants but if you have a really fine grain sand, the stems will have to work a little harder to push roots through. Gravel can work, but try looking for one that is a smaller grain size than what you have right now. Also try planting the stems deep so that it is already touching the dirt. Hopefully having the stems already in the soil will help with rooting.
  10. I would just buy another bag of sand just to have extra laying around. I constantly had to add like a cup of sand whenever soft spots started to appear in my cap.
  11. So adding fertilizer will increase your nitrates a little but not enough to the point of concern. Plus you will need all the other nutrients that come with easy green to promote plant growth. Since you mentioned that you've already seen growth in your plants I would at least do one recommended dose of easy green or whatever fertilizer you plan on using. I would hold off on root tabs at least until you have finished cycling. I wouldn't worry about your plants if the leaves are yellowing or having holes since they are still adjusting to your water parameters. Just be sure that its the older leaves that are doing that not the new leaves that have grown in your tank. Unless you have really acidic water I wouldn't be too concerned about your seiryu stone leaching. Overtime the leaching will slow down. And the film on your spider wood is totally normal fish or shrimp will make quick work of that or it will go away over time with water changes. Keep an eye on your parameters though if you have fish and try not to let it get any higher than it is right now.
  12. I think you are fine with what you have. You. could add more sand for your cap, I like 2-3 inches cap. If you are asking if you need more dirt I think you already have more than enough. By having a dirted tank you kind of signed up for the possibility of soil leaching into your water all the time. Especially when it comes to planting or moving plants you will be pulling up soil so be cognizant when doing that and change water out when you do. I'm guessing you added fresh soil straight into the tank? If so expect to have really high amount of nutrients in the water and you may have to do a lot more upfront water changes at the start to keep everything balanced. As you get more plants and your tank matures more, you shouldn't have to do nearly as much. But I would feel around your cap with your fingers and look for soft spots. Sometimes your sand layer isn't as even/thick as you think and there may be a spot where there isn't enough sand covering the dirt. As for filling the water in your tank, maybe use a bag or a bowl to pour your water in so that it doesn't come crashing down and disturbing your cap.
  13. My flamingo looked exactly the same as yours in its emersed state. This is the only picture I can find with its older leaves, hopefully it will put you a little at ease that you might have the right plant. Since I haven't had the plant that long, I don't have any definitive tips that may help you but I can share my experience with it so far. But just like you did, I cleared a nice space around the flamingo so that there was no chance of it being shaded by other plants. Weird thing is the first 4 leaves came out the typical brown you'd see from a crypt wendtii before the bright pink showed itself. If anything the first few leaves had light hue of pink to around the edges but it didn't really hold for long. Its nearing 2 months now and I've adjusted my lights to try accentuate the pink more. Now I'm starting to notice by the time the 2nd pink leave comes out, the first leaf starts to turn brown at the edges. about a week later I guess we'll both see in time how it works out but I'm hoping in another few months I can figure out a way for it to hold onto its pink. I really hope it has nothing to do with limiting nitrates. But good luck on yours!
  14. It looks like you have java fern not an amazon sword and the roots you are seeing coming out the leaves are baby plantlets. You can pluck them off if you like but it might be even better just to let them either fall off on their own or allow the plantlet to get a little bigger. Also you might want to pull the java fern out of the substrate a little. It might not be an issue but you could run the risk of having the rhizome of the plant rot out. The rhizome would be the horizontal part of the plant where the leaves are coming out. You can try tying/gluing it to that piece of wood. Since java fern pulls nutrients through the water you don't need to use root tabs anymore unless thats your only source of fertilizer. I wouldn't worry about losing co2 with the air stone, it might even be more beneficial to leave it on.
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