View Full Version : Planted Tank Guide (under construction)

03-18-2007, 09:06 PM
“Semi” - Comprehensive guide for the planted tank

Ok, so I started writing this guide 2 weeks ago and got lazy later on so I figured I’d post it and add more as time goes on. The information here is partly based on personal experience and partly on research done on various sites. Feel free to pm me with any suggestions, or if you want to contribute to the guide. And yes, I realize I don’t have much of a section on the actual plants. Give me a break! :P

I am not an expert when it comes to planted aquariums. However, what I have compiled here represents what I have seen from personal experience and from the research I have done. Whenever possible, I have tried to give due credit for my sources (by directing the reader to the actual site...lol) but for the most part, I don't remember where I read this or read that. Some of it is fairly standard knowledge too. Any resemblance to other articles is merely coincidental and I will be happy to give due credit or change my wording if this concerns you. Again, my guide is just that, a guide. As with most things in this hobby, it is always wise to get a second opinion.

First of all, I’d like to point out that, when starting ANYTHING, you should keep it as simple as possible. Get a feel for what you are doing first, and then add on to your setup. This does NOT mean, however, that you should buy half-ass equipment. You should be mindful of what you are planning down the road, and purchase stuff based on that and stick to it, or else you will end up buying several sets of lighting, substrates, etc. If you are going to upgrade an existing part of your tank (ie substrate, lighting, CO2), then get a nice piece of equipment that will be useful for a long time, or you will end up, 400 dollar later, with 4 fixtures you don’t use anymore, etc. Perhaps the most expensive part of this hobby is upgrading everything so many times, so you want to minimize that.

Secondly, I want to say the planted aquariums are all about balance. Plants require nutrients, light, and CO2. If one of those legs is missing, the tripod will fall over. Whenever you see algae in a planted tank, it’s because of an imbalance, so fix the imbalance, not the algae. This means that if you add more light, you need to add more CO2 and nutrients, if you add more nutrients, you need to add more light and CO2 and so on.


One of the most important aspects of keeping plants is lighting. You may have heard of the watt per gallon rule used to determine how much light is required to grow certain types of plants (by the way, this refers to regular fluorescent watts, not incandescent). However, this rule is more of a general guideline, and breaks down in certain circumstances. For instance, 2-2.5 watts per gallon in a 10 gallon tank will grow most plants pretty well, but 2-2.5 watts/gallon in a 180 gallon tank will grow anything you want. Likewise, 2.5 watts per gallon in a 1 gallon nano tank will only grow extremely low light plants. The key factor here is light intensity, ie how “bright” each component of your lighting fixture is. A 2x 96 watt compact fluorescent bulbs will be MANY times brighter than an array of 22x 9 watt bulbs. Likewise a 200 watt metal halide bulb will probably blind you if you look directly at it, because all of the light emanates from a single point. There is a minimum “intensity” that much be achieved for photosynthesis, which varies from plant to plant. In general, fluorescent intensity is best suited for low-medium light plants, compact fluorescents to low-high light plants, and metal-halide for all ranges.

A great site for lighting information (and for most things about planted tanks for that matter:


Different types of lighting

This is the cheapest solution, but also the most inefficient because most of the wattage going into the bulb is converted to heat and not light energy. Figure about 10-15 lumens per watt efficiency with these. I would highly recommend getting replacement screw-in type compact fluorescent bulbs (make sure they are the skinny kind and not the fat ones though). Note that halogen lights (which are not the same thing as metal halide lights, also fall under this category, so that 300 watt halogen fixture you are eyeing from Home Depot is at most the equivalent of 75 watts of compact fluorescent lighting.

Regular Fluorescent

Regular fluorescent bulbs are divided into 3 categories, based on diameter: T-12, T-8, T-5. The bulbs you usually see on aquariums is T-8’s. The skinnier the diameter of the bulb, the more concentrated the light source and thus, the more efficient the bulb. T-12’s, also known as shop lights, are big and fat, which works fine in an office building but is really not well suited for aquarium lighting. T-5’s are usually found in high output fluorescent devices, where the skinny bulbs mean you can pack more of them in a fixture, and with good reflectors, will provide much more light than T-8’s. In general, you will only be able to grow low-medium light plants well with these bulbs (not including the T-5’s), as the intensity is fairly low. Typical efficiency (T-12 + T-8) here is 50-60 lumens per watt.

T-5 - I thought these deserve a special mention. Because they are tubular, it allows for the use of parabolic reflectors, while keeping the same intensity of the T-5 diameter. Thus T-5's are actually comparable to metal halide lighting in intensity. However, they are also almost as, if not as expensive as metal halide lights. Much cooler to the touch though.

Compact Fluorescents

A derivative of regular fluorescents, compact fluorescents are just T-5 diameter bulbs twisted in various manners to get more tubing in. Note that the spiral screw in bulbs you get at Home Depot are compact fluorescents, but because of their design, are at most only 50% efficient compared to say, an tube fluorescent fixture with a parabolic reflector. This is because so much restrike occurs. Keep this in mind when calculating how much light you need using these things. This is the most popular choice for planted aquariums by far, because the produce relatively little heat and are usually the same price as a triple tube fluorescent fixture, while putting out much more light. The bulbs for these are rather expensive though, and it’s very tough to find generic replacements at hardware stores, etc, compared to tubes. Compact fluorescents efficiency (as well as T-5) efficiency) is generally about 60-70 lumens per watt, slightly more efficient than regular fluorescents.

Metal Halide

The ultimate light source, replicating the light from the sun in intensity. Don’t know enough about this stuff to make a real post about it, but it’s expensive, creates lots of heat, and the replacement bulbs cost a LOT. On the bright ( ;) ) side, these bad boys will provide TONS of light for those high tech aquariums and create a cool rippling effect. I don’t see many people using these in planted aquariums.


Ah the age old debate of color spectrum. When considering bulbs, you should try for a mix of 5000K to 10000K bulbs, preferably full spectrum varieties(6700k is ideal). Technically, the K rating really has little to no bearing on the actual spectrum of light produced, which is why two 6700k bulbs can have drastic differences. In general, however, the bulbs between 5000k and 10000k are full spectrum and intended for freshwater tanks. Plant light absorption has two peaks, one red and the other blue, which is satisfied by full spectrum bulbs. Specific bulbs, such as actinics, can be used, but ONLY as a supplement, after main lighting needs are met. The wavelength of actinic bulbs matches closely with the blue absorption peak of plants, but the bulbs simply not produce enough “intensity” to be of much use by themselves. You can play around with different spectrums. Usually higher K values give a more blue-ish look, making yellow plants seem green ;)


One of the most important things when considering a light fixture is the shape and material of the reflector, as the majority of the light from a tube or bulb will NOT be going directly into the tank. Thus, you need a parabolic reflector (or similarly shaped), with a decent distance between it and the bulb in order to reduce restrike. The reflector should be highly polished as well. And no, if you have a white plastic reflector, putting in aluminum foil does not help, since the reflective nature of aluminum is offset by the fact that it’s all crinkly, and the bulbs on those fixtures are usually so close to the reflectors that decreasing the distance will actually increase restrike. On top of that, your bulbs get warmer, reducing their useful life.

03-18-2007, 09:07 PM

Plants need a wide range of nutrients. They fall under two categories, macronutrients and micronutrients, depending on how much of it the plant uses for growth.
Macronutrients include Nitrogen (added in the form of nitrates), Phosphorus (added in the form of phosphate), and Potassium (added in the form of….potassium ;) ).

Micronutrients includes Iron and Trace (Not going to bother listing all the chemicals. Suffice to say that Plantex CSM-B or Seachem Flourish will provide them all in one fell swoop, since you aren’t going to be dosing 10 different trace elements.) In extremely soft water, you may also need to supplement calcium and magnesium (Seachem Equilibrium)

Generally, with low-medium lighting, you will not have to fertilize, as fish waste, decaying fish food, and water changes (assuming you are not using RO water) will provide enough for plants. If you are injecting CO2 and have more than 2-2.5 watts per gallon, or if your nitrates consistently tests at 0, then you can consider adding dry ferts. As aquariums don't really have a significant source of iron or potassium in the water column, your tank may benefit from a product like API Leafzone that doses chelated iron and potassium.

Ideal Nutrient levels:

Nitrates 10-15ppm
Phosphates 0.5-1 ppm
Potassium 20ppm

Don't bother testing for iron. Just dose the recommended amount on the label. Hobby-grade iron test kits are a waste of money.

Site for nutrient deficiency:
(Note: as the writer mentions, this is merely a guide and not entirely accurate for all plants/in all situations)

Site for dry ferts, as well as dosing information

Site for EI method of dosing


CO2 is perhaps one of the most important, yet neglected aspects of a planted tank. In a normal, non injected tank, CO2 levels are at about 3-4 ppm, which is very low. This is because CO2 dissipates out of the water very quickly, and so at equilibrium, stays at low levels. The use of various surface disturbing equipment, such as biowheels, air pumps, etc, will decrease CO2 loss, resulting in even lower concentrations of CO2. Thus, they should be avoided whenever possible. For the most part, all planted tank owners will derive some benefit from injecting CO2 when done correctly, as it is usually the limiting factor in plant growth.

CO2 in injected via 2 methods: DIY yeast solution and pressurized CO2 tanks. DIY Yeast is cheap, effective for small tanks, and easy to make. However, the CO2 provided is not consistent, and it is very difficult to tune the actual amount of CO2 (measured in bubbles/minute) that goes in. Pressurized CO2, on the other hand, is very precise, and can be hooked up to a solenoid and a pH controller so that the system is fully automated, and uses CO2 to maintain a constant, preset pH. Pressurized CO2 is generally recommended for high growth planted tanks 55 gallons or above, although maybe people use them even for small nano planted tanks because of it's convienience. A large CO2 tank (10 pounds) can last for many months in a larger tank, whereas the DIY yeast solution must be replaced every 2-4 weeks (depending on the mixture)

DIY Yeast Solution (using 2 liter soda bottle) - based on 10g tank
1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Mix the yeast in some warm water before adding it to the bottle. Add the rest of the ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top. Cover the top and shake well. Adding more sugar will increase how long the solution lasts (although 2 cups is pretty much the limit). Adding more yeast will increase bubble production, but decrease how long it lasts. The baking soda acts as a buffer to prevent the water from getting too acidic during CO2 production. The yeast will die off eventually, because this process makes alcohol, and very high levels of it are built up later on. For this reason, some people use wine yeast, as it has a higher tolerance to alcohol. The rate of CO2 production is HIGHLY dependent on ambient temperature, so you may need to adjust your yeast quantity to achieve a bubble every 4-5 seconds or so (more in larger tanks) This solution lasts about 2-4 weeks, depending on your conditions.

CO2 is diffused into the water via many methods. Some of the most common include an external reactor, which is fed water (usually by a canister filter or a pump) and carbon dioxide. The setup is in such a way that the CO2 sits at the top of the reactor and cannot escape until it dissolved. Another method is the glass diffuser. This is basically a bell shaped piece of glass that contains a sintered glass plate, which works much like an airstone, except the bubbles released are very small.
For a DIY yeast setup in a small aquarium, it is usually easiest to just position the CO2 line so that it feeds bubbles into the intake of the filter. The impeller in the filter will chop the bubbles up and increase the rate at which they dissolve significantly. There is also the bubble ladder, which basically works in the principle that the longer the CO2 bubble is in the water, the more time it has to dissolve. These things are bulky and ugly though, so I wouldn't recommend them. Some people use a combination of these methods, ie positioning an airstone or a glass diffuser underneath the filter intake. This is what I do and it works very well.

CO2, when dissolved in water, forms carbonic acid, which will lower your pH by a set amount for the concentration of CO2 dissolved in your water. An easy way to test the concentration of CO2 in your water is to take the pH of the tank during injection, remove a bowl of water, let it sit 24 hours, and measure the pH of the bowl. 15 ppm of CO2 will lower the pH by 0.5. 30 ppm will lower it by 1.0. Note pH swings due to CO2 changes ARE NOT THE SAME AS pH changes due to a changing alkalinity or a chemical buffer. A change from 1 to 10 kH will kill a fish unless done very slowly, but a 1.0 increase in pH due to CO2 from doing a large water change will not.

An alternative to using CO2 is the organic carbon supplement by Seachem called Flourish Excel. This product contains a chemical similar to hydrogen peroxide that will do a number on certain types of algae as well (black brush algae in particular). However, certain plants such as Vals and Anacharis have shown a sensitivity to this product, so Excel should not be used if you have these plants.

Here’s an article about the use of CO2 in planted tanks:



Will fill in more stuff down the line, but here’s a chart regarding causes of algae and treatments. Note that using algae treating chemicals like Algaefix is nothing more than a short term solution, and it can and WILL come back under certain conditions. Also note that the excess nutrients the chart refers to has been shown to be ammonium (a form of ammonia) and not necessarily phosphates, iron, or nitrates. In fact, as you can see, algae often stems from too LITTLE phosphates and nitrates as they become a limiting factor so the plants cannot outcompete algae. Of course, this assumes that you have a planted tank and sufficient lighting/fast growing plants in the first place.


03-18-2007, 09:07 PM

Substrates are another backbone behind a successful aquarium, providing necessary nutrients while holding a plant down. However, with some varities of plants that can feed from the water column or be attached to rocks/driftwood, this does not apply (such as java fern, varieties of moss, anubias)

There are essentially 3 different types of substrate:

1) Inert, non supplementing substrate, ie clown puke gravel, coated gravel, smooth rocks, etc: The cheapest substrate you can get is also the worst for plant growth, because they contain no innate nutrients, and have essentially zero CEC (cation exchange capacity – a measure of how well the substrate holds onto nutrients for plant use). With this substrate, you will need heavy supplementation in the form of laterite or Flourish plant tabs to feed root feeders.
Special note: Sand falls under this category as well. However, it is slightly better than the larger rocks because it tend to envelope the roots better. Supplementation is still needed however, unless your plants feed off of the water column. Make SURE the sand is between 1-3 mm in diameter or it will compact too much. Sand bed’s should also not be more than 1-2 inches thick unless you have organisms that dig through the bed and aerate it to reduce anaerobic pockets of toxic gas (such as Malaysian trumpet snails or freshwater clams) Many people use this in planted aquariums due to the aesthetic appeal, but remember that it provides nothing for the plants and so requires supplements.

2) Inert, supplementing substrate. The most common example of this is laterite or Flourite. Both contain high amounts of iron and various trace elements used by the plants. Furthermore, fired clay substrates like Flourite have an extremely high CEC, which makes it great for root feeders. Because it’s inert, it won’t effect water parameters.

3) Organic, supplementing substrates. Essentially aquatic potting soil. Some brands include Schultz soil, ADA Aquasoil, peat moss (used as a bottom layer). Most of the professionals swear by ADA aquasoil products, but, being an organic substrate, will effect your water parameters. In particular Aquasoil lowers your kH, causes an ammonia surge, causes plants to “melt” (they grow back much stronger however). I don’t have any experience with organic substrates so I won’t go further into depth. However, I can say that these substrates, like Flourite, have an extremely high CEC and will contain many supplements for plants. Furthermore, the advantage of some organic substrates (like Aquasoil again) is that the are slightly acidic and softens hard water, which aids in nutrient uptake. Definitely not for the impatient or for the beginner though, as they will change your water parameters as mentioned. However, if you are up to the initial challenge, ADA Aquasoil will give the best results, hands down. All of the top aquascapers in the world use this stuff, and it is not all that much more expensive than say Eco Complete:


A rule of thumb for substrates is usually enough to make a 2-3 inch bed, with possibly more in the back (because it should slope up). A VERY thin layer of peat moss (light sprinkling) can be put underneath the main substrate, as peat's organic nature and acidicty will improve nutrient uptake without effecting tank water parameters much, if at all.


With a planted tank, you want to create a feeling of depth. This means slope the substrate so that it is higher in the back, and put taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front

Carpet plants:

One of the trademarks of a great planted tank is a nice carpet plant. There are many to choose from and I will list a few here:

Marsilea minuta – grows well under low light, albeit slowly
Marsilea hirsuta – same as above, slightly bigger/taller
Hemianthus Callitrichoides – very small leaves, looks great in smaller tanks. Need more light that marselia, and requires a fine substrate to spread out (leaves are only 1 mm in diameter - gives you an idea of how small the stuff is)
Glossostigma elatinoides – somewhat difficult to cultivate but highly sought after because of its color. Requires high light to form a carpet, otherwise it will grow up. Benefits greatly from CO2 injection
Dwarf hairgrass – Survives in low light but really does not spread unless under high. This stuff will only spread out in fine substrate just like HC. Even Flourite will give it loads of trouble when it comes to sending off runners. Think Ecocomplete (or ADA Aquasoil)

NOTE: Almost all fine carpet plants need to be broken up into individual plantlets or small clusters and planted seperately and spaced out. They must be allowed to fill in themselves. If you take a large mat of it and push it into the substrate, it will rot and die.

Many people have used varieties of moss as a carpet plant, but I tend to stay away, particular with java moss. Also keep in mind that most of the fine carpet plants require specialized cleaners like shrimp, as SAE, and even otos are too big to really get in the nooks and crannies. Note that most carpet plants will be more compact under high lighting and less compact/taller under low lighting. When planting carpet plants, you need to break up the patches into single clusters of 2-3 leaves and plant them separately with tweezers. This will take quite a while, but it will allow the plants to spread out MUCH faster and grow in better. You could just bury the whole patch, but chances are that it will rot, or at the very least take months to spread out.

Plants generally fall under 4 different categories:

1) Rooted plants – most common example are varieties of swords. Each leaf will go to a central, rooted location. To plant, remove the plant carefully from the pot (if potted), remove the rockwool from all parts of the plant ( it’s ok if you break some roots) cut off ¼ of the root to encourage root growth and push into the substrate so that all roots are buried. Then pull up slightly so that the crown of the plant just barely shows.
2) Rootless plants – all mosses – because these plants do not have a root structure, they need to be secured to driftwood or rocks with string or fishing line.
3) Bulb/Tuber/Rhizome plants – includes anubias, banana plants – for bulbs and tubers, bury the bulb/tuber halfway in the substrate. For rhizomes, bury the roots so that the rhizome is still above the substrate, or it will rot. These plants can also be secured to rock or driftwood like rootless plants.
4) Stem plants – examples include hygrophilia, rotala indica, wisteria. Basically anything with a single stem that is usually sold in bunches falls under this category. To plant, simply strip the leaves from 2-4 of the bottom nodes and push into the substrate. Roots will develop from these nodes. For the very first trimming, let it grow for at least a few weeks to establish a strong root network. Then cut about ¾ of the way down and either replant or throw out the top cutting. The old plant will shoot 1-2 side shoots from where it was cut. After those grow for a while, cut the side shoots about ½ inch above the first cut. Thus 2-4 new shoots will come out. Continue to do this to create a bushy effect from stem plants.
For all plants, it is wise to trim off all dying or unhealthy looking leaves (don’t trim TOO much off though), as plants use a large amount of energy trying to repair these leaves that can be put into a new leaf. As a rule of thumb, the more regular pruning you do, the bushier a plant gets.

03-18-2007, 09:08 PM

The ideal method of filtration for any size tank would be a canister. Because it is entirely self-contained, it does not cause any surface disturbance that releases CO2. Furthermore, the use of diatom filters is possible with a canister filter, and they will in general, have better micro particle filtration capabilities than any other filter type. Due to the cost of canister filters, however, it may not be practical to use them for 20g or smaller tanks. In this case, traditional HOB power filters will work, though one without a Biowheel is ideal, as the large surface area is great for culturing bacteria.....and releasing CO2. The water level should be raised so that there is no "waterfall" effect from the filter oulet.

Filter Media

Filter media for a planted tank include the traditional filter floss, rough floss pads, fine micron pads, and various biological media such as sintered glass rings or ceramic pieces. In a heavily planted tank, however, the plants will be able to absorb most to all of the ammonia produced by the fish, so if your biological filtration is somewhat lacking, it will not be a problem as long as your plants are actively growing. Again, actively growing is the key. If something should go wrong, ie running out of a certain nutrient, that results in the slowing down of plant growth, you may see the weakened bacterial population not being able to keep up with the bioload. Thus it is prudent to keep some kind of bio-media in the filter.

For chemical filtration, one product comes to mind: Seachem Purigen. This rechargeable resin absorbs nitrogenous waste before it is converted to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate. Why is this better than, say an ammonia/nitrite remover? Because ammonia/nitrite removing chemical can only be of use AFTER the said organics have broken down, and various types of algae, which love ammonia , can gain a foothold. Seachem doesn't specifically say it, but it also has an apparent ability to clear up tank water in certain situations. My tank water was cloudy for over a week with no apparent cause (well mature tank, normal water parameters, tested everything, used aggregating water clarifier, filter floss, polishing pads) Finally I tried some Purigen and it cleared right up. Yes, I am getting paid my Seachem to advertise their product. Each time this thread gets a view, I get two cents, so please....help me click my way through college ;)

Activated Carbon in the Planted Tank

This is a very widely debated topic. Some people say that is strips the required trace elements and iron from the water column (which planted tank owners actually supplement). Others say it doesn't, and helps with dissolved organics, toxic metals, tannins, etc. My own experience has shown better growth without the use of activated carbon. Furthermore, as you will be treating your water with some kind of water conditioner before adding it to the tank, the role of toxin remover is rendered somewhat moot. Activated carbon can and should be used for the removal of medications, however, but that is the only time I use them.

03-18-2007, 09:08 PM
Low-tech Planted Tanks

Ok, so you've read all about the various requirements and equipment needed, but you just don't have the money to spend on expensive lighting fixtures or substrates. Not to worry, planted aquariums can be done on the cheap and still look great! The key is to plan ahead of time and pick the right plants.

First, we want to look at the equipment of the average fish tank owner and base our plant selection off of that. Typically you will be looking at low lighting (less than 1 watt/gallon) and an inert gravel substrate. Therefore, the obvious solution is to pick low light water column feeding plants. Perfect examples of these are any variety of moss (java moss in particular, as the others grow EXTREMELY slow under low light), java fern, and anubias. Anubias are fairly heavy root feeders, but can be attached to driftwood or rocks so that their roots are exposed and draw nutrients from the water. In this case, it does not pose a problem because the low light and no CO2 will result in very slow growth anyways. You will also want to tie the java fern and java moss to rocks or driftwood as well. If you do not perform weekly water changes, or if you have a lot of plants in your tank, then it may be prudent to supplement with some trace, most commonly provided by Seachem Flourish (though you can use CSM+B as detailed under fertilization). With a low tech plant, fish waste will provide enough nitrates and the trace amounts of fish food missed will provide some phosphate. Potassium and iron may or may not need to be supplemented (as Flourish provides a small amount of iron and macronutrients that includes potassium). If you have completed all the rest and your leaves are still turning yellow/growing holes, then a potassium/chelated iron mixture like API Leafzone may be prudent.

03-18-2007, 09:09 PM

Ok, so you've got everything set up, your plants are showing good growth and color. Now what? Now it's time to put that tangle of plant matter into a setup that appeals to the eye of course! Because there are so many different styles of aquascaping (note I made up some of the names, as I don't know what they are formally called) , I'm only going to list a few here and leave it up to you and google to find other ideas. Note I'm not adding any pictures because I don't have permission from other people. Go look for them yourself :P

Iwagumi - this involves the extensive use of semi-smooth rocks clustered together to form a sort of mountainous landscape. Clusters of plants will be scattered in between to break up the lines of the rocks, and small, low ground cover like hemianthus callitrichoides are used to hide the majority of the substrate. A very simple, elegant approach

Jungle - The most random of the styles. Basically allows plants to grow uncontrollably to create a sense of disorder and chaos found in nature. Often seen using jungle vals that grow up and curl over the rest of the tank.

"Rainforest" - extensive use of driftwood, covered in various types of mosses with java fern/narrow leaf java fern and anubias scattered in between. Sand is often used as a foreground substrate.

Dutch - Tends to look more manmade than the "natural" styles because of it's use of contrasting colors like reds and so on. Very trim and organized.

General Concepts Behind Aquascaping

This applies for all styles:

- Create a sense of depth by putting low plants in the front, medium plants in the middle, and tall plants in the back. This is aided by sloping the substrate to the back, but you may need rocks/driftwood to hold it.

- Avoid symmetry. Fairly self explanatory

- Don't put reds in the middle of the tank. Put them towards the edges.

- Place plants of varying shades of green next to each other for a subtle effect

- In smaller tanks, use fine-leaved plants to make the tank look bigger than it is.

- Negative space (open space) is often just as effective, if not more effective, than a space filled with plants. Generally negative space looks better when it's in the middle or on one end. Of you have a mass of plants in the middle and negative space on both sides, it's going to look odd.

- A black (or dark blue background) is a must after you get a decent amount of plants in. The contrast will make your tank look MUCH better and will keep eyes focused on the fish and the plants, not the background

- A centerpiece, whether it is a rock formation, a particularly splendid plant or a piece of driftwood, can make the rest of the tank look better. If you use a centerpiece, arrange your layout so the eye is drawn to it.

More coming.....

03-19-2007, 05:55 AM
"semi comprehensive" ??!!

03-19-2007, 06:02 AM
"semi comprehensive" ??!!

Working on it. Still needs a lot of stuff....maybe like another 5 pages. I'm thinking more detail on CO2 and algae, filtration, more plant details, low light recommendations, etc.

03-19-2007, 06:11 AM
Great job so far, I think this should become a sticky.

Lady Hobbs
03-19-2007, 09:18 AM
When he gets it all done, I will make it one.

03-19-2007, 08:28 PM
nice info.
can you go into more detail about...

just kidding. looks good so far.

i will say this though, there are two basic types of HID (high intensity discharge) bulbs. metal halide (bluish spectrum) and HPS-high pressure sodium (redish spectrum). i know this from growing flowering plants and each one has a purpose. metal halide for growing and HPS for flowering.

03-19-2007, 10:38 PM
Cool, maybe you will have it done in time for issue one of the newsletter, don't rush it though.

03-20-2007, 01:07 AM
Thanks guys. I'm just adding stuff as I think of it. I'm sure there's many aspects I've missed, so if you have any questions, just post here and I'll put it in the guide, or if I don't know, will do some research and report back :)

03-20-2007, 01:12 AM
you do great research! i do appreciate the time that you take to do it as i don't have that kind of time. thanks man!

03-23-2007, 05:09 AM
best guide i have read so far. can you talk about how to clean the plants before adding them into the tank? i have seen two suggestions so far. one is alum and the other is potassium (something).

03-23-2007, 09:58 PM
Sweet! nice job Chrona!

05-07-2007, 10:19 PM
Thought I'd dig this back up...is this going to be stickied?

05-07-2007, 10:21 PM
Thought I'd dig this back up...is this going to be stickied?

Not done yet. Learned some new stuff, haven't had the time to edit it in yet ^_^

05-07-2007, 10:30 PM
Oh ok, we'll let it float on down for now then...

05-07-2007, 10:39 PM
Oh ok, we'll let it float on down for now then...

If anyone has any suggestions or requests though, feel free to post them. I'm trying to cover all of the bases, but I've probably left out stuff here and there. If you have any questions, just ask here and I'll try my best to answer/incorporate it into the guide. Thanks

05-08-2007, 02:25 AM
maybe add a suggestion for a ppm reading for nitrates?

05-08-2007, 02:27 AM
Maybe some aqua scaping ideas? Or will that come at the end?

05-08-2007, 02:34 AM
maybe add a suggestion for a ppm reading for nitrates?

Do you mean like the ideal nitrate concentration? or how much to dose?

Maybe some aqua scaping ideas? Or will that come at the end?

kk, will work on that.

05-08-2007, 02:41 AM
ideal, and then how to dose for ideal, but that may be a little tricky, since everyone's plants and bioloads are different.

05-08-2007, 02:57 AM
ideal, and then how to dose for ideal, but that may be a little tricky, since everyone's plants and bioloads are different.

It's pretty tough to say. Nitrates is easy to test for, but if you are going to dose fry ferts, then I'd say use the EI method. Anything else would require too much testing and would be a PITA. One should be doing a 50% water change weekly anyways.

Added the ideal levels, thanks! :)

05-08-2007, 01:41 PM
just to let everyone know, i will be deleting all "non-chrona" posts in this thread once he's finished with it. this way all anyone will see is his information.