My first planted cichlid tank

tiger15

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I am bored with rock scape in my all cichlid tanks and decided to convert a 75 into a plant scape. So I purchased a bunch of plants at the spring auctions and started my first planted tank. The problem I have is that I keep medium to large cichlid and they are not known to be plant friendly. So I concentrate on non-substrate and low light plants that include bolbitis, anubias bartari, nana, and pettite, java regular, narrow leaf and trident fern, and a crypto wendtii. Except for a potted crypto , I super glued all plants onto the rock scape. My goal is to turn the plant scape into a mobile garden on rock so I can move them around to achieve the visual impact and vacuum underneath during WC. I provide 8 hour photo period with overhead and surround LED by tying them inside on the front and side rims. I don't know the light intensity but estimate to be in the 6000 lumen range. I retain a thin layer of dolomite gravel substrate with pH about 7.5. I don't provide fertilizer and don't know if it is necessary as the fish load is heavy. Here are pics of my 3 week old set up.

Since set up half the leaves in my crypto have melted and 10% anubias leaves have broken off from the rhrzome. On the positive side, all java ferns stay green and I saw new growth in the bolbitis and a couple new leaves in the anubias bartari. I am experienced in fish keeping, but a novice in plants so feel free to comment. I will provide progress reports on how it goes.

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flukekiller

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Most new plants will "melt" due to the change in conditions. They should regrow just fine. The ones that broke off are most likely getting messed with by your cichlids or could have been damaged from the start. They should regrow also.
Good luck, and the tank looks great.
 
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Tomt37

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Love the big electric blue acara .. I'm on the lookout for one
 

tiger15

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Most new plants will "melt" due to the change in conditions. They should regrow just fine. The ones that broke off are most likely getting messed with by your cichlids or could have been damaged from the start. They should regrow also.
Good luck, and the tank looks great.
My cichlids have behaved well and I have not observed attempt to pull off the plant. The leaves came off from rhizomes that got mushy, not a good sign, hopefully it's not a desease and so far limiting to only a couple anubias.
 

MrsE88

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I'm going to write those plant names down. I'd like to go the planted route and like your idea of having things only attached to wood and rocks. I too know nothing about plants really. I've had them once before and they did really well till winter. My tank wasn't heated at the time so they all died.
 

magpie

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Super glue - that's a new one to me. Will be curious how this goes.

I'd still fertilize. It's easy to dose a capful of Flourish at each weekly water change. You also may want to increase the light period depending on how they do and algae - it's a balancing act. My tank is on 12 hours, some do 10.

Keep us updated!
 

KabobSoldier

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Super glue - that's a new one to me. Will be curious how this goes.

I'd still fertilize. It's easy to dose a capful of Flourish at each weekly water change. You also may want to increase the light period depending on how they do and algae - it's a balancing act. My tank is on 12 hours, some do 10.

Keep us updated!
Super Glue is probably the easiest way to attach plants and moss to wood and stone imo. As long as you're not sloppy with it you won't even see it underwater (it tends to dry white underwater).
 
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tiger15

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Super glue - that's a new one to me. Will be curious how this goes.

I'd still fertilize. It's easy to dose a capful of Flourish at each weekly water change. You also may want to increase the light period depending on how they do and algae - it's a balancing act. My tank is on 12 hours, some do 10.

Keep us updated!
Superglue works wonder, better than tying. I got the idea from YouTube. Just be careful not to glue the finger onto the plant as it is the same ingredient used in liquid bandage. It's moisture activated so it doesn't need to be dry cured.

I'll start with 8 hr photo period to see how it goes. I set the timer to turn on 3 hrs in the morning and 5 hrs in the evening and the tank gets bright ambient light from distant windows. I don't know the light intensity and whether longer photo duration can compensate for lower light intensity. The X watt per gal rule is based on fluorescent and doesn't apply to LED. How can I tell if I am getting enough or the right balance of light. I haven't observed growth of algae yet but not much plant growth either, but I have a troop of bristle nose to help out.
 
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tiger15

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I can understand why all those amazing "nature" aquariums need CO2 and supplemental fertilizing because they are plant heavy, fish light. My set up is the opposite: fish heavy and plant light, so I have no plan to go the CO2 route. Here is my current stocking:

One 8" Bifa, one 8" Green Terror, two 4" C. panamensis, three 4" aulonocara, seven 1.5" leulupi, one 2" L. elongatus, two 4" EBA, two C. nanoluteus and a number of bristle nose pleco

With such a heavy stocking, I have been doing massive 75% WC weekly to keep nitrate down. With plants, I still plan to do 50% WC weekly. Last week I tested the nitrate level at 5 ppm before WC, a substantial decline from 30 ppm pre planting.

I am wondering if I even need supplemental fertilizing as some suggested given the heavy stocking and feeding. The fish food ingredients list the presence of trace nutrients such as iron, cobalt, calcium, and manganese , and I am sure the messy eaters will leave sufficient left over food to feed the plants. Am I correct?
 
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