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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I started up my tank with the attention of having a colony of calvus and wasn't sure what else a couple years ago. Has a regular 15watt bulb and black sand substrate and I ended up with a single black calvus and a single redfin comp along with a colony of cyp unita and a colony of syno petricola. I decided about 8 months ago I want live plants and have been just buying and planting hoping something would take off. Most plants slowly wasted away as I was afraid of with low light and a pH of 8.2. I did however mix some Eco-Complete for plants substrate with the sand to make it a 50/50 mix.

Well I bought a java fern used a rubberband to attach it to Holy Rock, for the time being since I had no lava rock or driftwood. After only a couple weeks I went to go move it and to my surprise its totally taken already!! I figured since its already attached and has 3 new leaves uncurling( only 5 others on the plant so nice growth for only a few weeks!) I would leave it be. So I purchased some more javas in hopes they will take just as well! I also purchased some crypt lutea and crypt spirualis hoping they do well! I also had some tropica swords that have been doing well so I added an Ozeolot and a Radican Sword hoping for similar results.

Anyone have a similair setup, high pH low light? Whats been successful for you?

Also I was tempted to add some bolbitis fern ( another african thats a little rarer but grows into a beautiful specimen plant) I found a store that sells it for only 6 bucks a rhizome ( about 6inches worth). ANyone have experience with this plant? The guy at the store told me it does poorly in low light an d will turn black and slowly waste, but from what *** read they love low light and stay a dark green when in it, in high light they turn translucent green.
 

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one single 15W bulb? the ozelot sword will waste away under that little light... I predict the crypts will struggle for a long time but always look ratty and sparse. It wouldn't take much for an illness to melt them to nil.

Bolbitis fern is an odd plant... it is a low light plant that has a high minimum light threshold. Sort of a oddity... most low light plants like your java fern and regular sword plants are truly low light tolerant and can eek out a survival with a small amount of light. IME, 15W is below bolbitis' minimum light threshold.

Any chance you can get more light above the tank? Any chance you want to slap some bright white LEDs on that tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking of adding more light to the tank but am afraid that this will be harmful to the java fern and since my nitrates are elevated that this would cause an algae bloom. It is a 29G tank so basically 1/2watt per gallon.
The light fixture is a regular T5( thats the regular one that comes standard right?). I really dont want to buy a whole new light fixture but it seems like I cant upgrade the watts with the one I have. Is it possible to find a bulb thats higher than 15 watts for the standard fixture anywhere??

Also I run Purigen in my tank due to my high bioload, although I do run a Penguin 350 which is more than enough filtration and water movement and stuff it with filter floss + the biowheels to ensure good bacterial growth. Not sure if Purigen helps or hurts plants. I used to use the lake malawi buffer as well but have cut way back thinking the salts in it would be harmful to plants. Im thinking with the high bioload of fish I have that CO2 is not needed. Im completely new to plants always had fish with plastic plants before so Im kind of just experimenting but really want a nice aquascape.
 
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