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View Full Version : Live plants vs Plastic. Live plants Rock



Strider199
01-24-2011, 01:53 AM
I've been keeping fish for over 35 years in tanks ranging in size from 1gallon to 32 gallons. I've never really had the confidence to try and keep live plants in a tank other than floating/surface ones.
After reading here and looking at some pic's of tanks with live plants, I decided to give it a go. It's early yet (only a month) but the ones I have introduced to my 30 gallon tetra tank are doing well and looking great. I have taken out the plastic replicas one by one as they were being replaced with a live species.
The tank and fish look fantastic! The water quality is awesome!

Thanks to everyone who has posted a picture or thread on live plants.:ssmile:

DylanisHawttt
01-24-2011, 01:57 AM
Could we perhaps see a picture of your tank with the plants in it?

CassieLEO
01-24-2011, 01:57 AM
COngrats on having some really great plants!! They make tanks look so beautiful.
Those aquarium bulbs you buy at walmart and petco work really good too, and for a good price. If they fail to sprout you can return them and they stick by their guarantee. I filled my whole tank with them and they grow like weeds and look beautiful. FOR CHEAP! Also, Petco is having a buy 2 get 1 free sale on plants.

Strider199
01-30-2011, 01:22 AM
Ok i've tried various ways to upload a picture but I get errors for size or when I re-size the photo I get errors for wrong file type. Something to keep working on. lol

CassieLEO
01-30-2011, 01:24 AM
Bummer :( Keep on trying, I wanna see those pics!! :D

Lady Hobbs
01-30-2011, 01:25 AM
Many load their photos to photobucket and just insert the IMG link right to their post.

If you don't want to load them to a website, you can just resize them and load them UNDER the message body in "Manage Attachments." Anything under 800x pixels should work.

Strider199
01-30-2011, 01:59 AM
Ok I went to the web and checked out some photo re-sizer programes. I used one so lets see what happens.

Hmm it looks a little dark. But its a start.

CassieLEO
01-30-2011, 02:05 AM
WOW!!!! What a beautiful tank!!! :D Very good job with the plants!!!

Lab_Rat
01-30-2011, 02:29 AM
Looks like a good start. The benefits of live plants are so great that I doubt I'll ever go back to not having them.

Plant Man
01-30-2011, 03:27 AM
Ok I went to the web and checked out some photo re-sizer programes. I used one so lets see what happens.

Hmm it looks a little dark. But its a start.

Looks real nice!

Could you tell us a little more about your tanks water parameters (GH, KH, ect)? Are you fertilizing and with what/how? What type of substrate are you using and are you injecting Co2? How much light are you running?

Most plants are fairly easy to keep when water conditions are right. I think itís not the plants that give us trouble itís the water and controlling the conditions. But once you understand a fair amount thereís really nothing magical about it.

Good luck with your tank, itís looking good!

Strider199
01-30-2011, 04:56 AM
I am just beginning with live plants in this tank Plant Man and I do not have a test kit for measuring GH (General Hardness) or KH (Carbonate Hardness). My pH is 7.6 which I take is a little on the hard side so I have one section of my Fluval 205 stocked with peat. Is there a test kit available to check these other parameters?
The substrate I have in this tank is just aquarium gravel which I have had for over thirty years. I read about plant fertilizers in this forum so I put some Seachem Flourish Tabs between the plants I have in the tank.
There is no CO2 system running at this time, I'm hoping the fish I have in the aquarium will do the job for me.
As far as lighting goes, I purchased a new canopy which has LED lights which are rated at 6,000k( watts per gallon wont equate with LED's). The usable spectrum of LED's seems to be suspect by what I've read so far but the plants and fish seem to thrive on it so far.
The set-up is only a month old and I'm holding my breath as to how it's going to turn out down the road. The fish seem to love swimming through the plants compared to swimming around the plastic ones I used to have.
If there are any tips you all have to share, please do as this is my first tank with real plants.
Thanks in advance.

Plant Man
01-30-2011, 03:42 PM
I am just beginning with live plants in this tank Plant Man and I do not have a test kit for measuring GH (General Hardness) or KH (Carbonate Hardness). My pH is 7.6 which I take is a little on the hard side so I have one section of my Fluval 205 stocked with peat. Is there a test kit available to check these other parameters?
The substrate I have in this tank is just aquarium gravel which I have had for over thirty years. I read about plant fertilizers in this forum so I put some Seachem Flourish Tabs between the plants I have in the tank.
There is no CO2 system running at this time, I'm hoping the fish I have in the aquarium will do the job for me.
As far as lighting goes, I purchased a new canopy which has LED lights which are rated at 6,000k( watts per gallon wont equate with LED's). The usable spectrum of LED's seems to be suspect by what I've read so far but the plants and fish seem to thrive on it so far.
The set-up is only a month old and I'm holding my breath as to how it's going to turn out down the road. The fish seem to love swimming through the plants compared to swimming around the plastic ones I used to have.
If there are any tips you all have to share, please do as this is my first tank with real plants.
Thanks in advance.


As far as testing for PH, itís mostly pointless. If you test for KH youíll know what the PH is using a PH/KH chart in a non-Co2 injected tank. Non-Co2 injected water has around 3-4ppm co2 in it. Itís much more accurate to measure KH, then trying to measuring PH directly with a kit because there are other buffers (Phosphate, ect) that negatively effect PH test kits accuracy, as well the test kit being off +/- on its own. With the KH test you only have to worry about the +/- of the test kit itself and not any other issues involving chemicals/substances that may or may not be in your tanks water.

PH/KH chart,

the colors are just showing the safe zone for the fish and optimal Co2 concentrations for the plants. Too much Co2 can and will ďgasĒ the tanks inhabitants to death, so some care must be taken when messing with Co2 injection especially if you go with a proper pressurized set up.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p296/TheMailman6666/ph-kh.jpg

If your PH really is 7.6 then youíre looking at a KH of no more then 4-5. If you really want to know buy an API KH/GH test kit and test your water. KH and GH are very easy tests to run, very hard to mess them up. It may also be a good idea to test both tank and tap to see if your water change schedule is where it should be. If your KH is higher out of the tap by a significant amount you may want to consider changing a little more water per week then you are.

KH = the waters natural buffer against PH swings/changes, As the tank accumulates acids (from fish waist/rotting food, ect) the KH drops and so does the PH, (ph very slowly at first until you run out of KH then opsy!). KH sets the starting PH of the water from anywhere in the 6.9 to 8.5 range all depending on how much KH buffer there is. Most tap water has a KH between 4-8, equating to a PH of 7.4ish to 8ish. Once the KH is over 1-2 the PH is already around 7, itís just not very safe (it doesnít take long to use up 1 KH in stocked tank.

The API double GH/KH kit comes with enough fluid for hundreds of tests, depending on how high/low your GH/KH are of course.

Youíve had the plants in there for a month right? How do they look? Have they grown much? In a non-Co2 enriched tank with a light plant load and not to much light youíll most likely be fine with out adding Nitrate or Phosphate (fish will supply Nitrate and tap water/food will supply Phophates), I would suggest you get a liquid fertilizer like Tropicaís ďPlant NutritionĒ without N and P. Look at your plants closely, do they have ďanyĒ yellow/dark spots. If so Iíd start with 5ml/per week (at water change time) for one month and then look at the new growth, how does it look, all green. If not, up the dose to 10ml and wait another month.

One more thing, if you start seeing BBA you have too much light for the available Co2. You can add Flourish Excel to up the amount of Carbon (but some plants donít like it), you can raise your current fixture up off the tank a few inches or you can buy a new light fixture that puts out less light.


Good luck,

Shawn

Rue
01-30-2011, 04:56 PM
Very nice.thumbs2:

I've always distinguished between a 'planted tank' and a tank with plants in it.

I have a tank with plants in it. I don't add anything for the plants specifically...no fertilizer, no special substrates, no lights. My plants are all 'easy', low-light varieties and do just fine.

Now...if you want a 'planted' tank with harder to keep varieties - then you might need special lighting, CO2, etc.

Strider199
01-30-2011, 11:04 PM
Thanks Plant Man for the heads up. The plants I have in the tank are not showing any black spots (execpt the java fern which had more than a few on the end of it's leaves when I got it).
I'll look into a kh test kit next time i'm at the lfs. You've open my eyes into the water quality for plants. Thanks.