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Results 1 to 10 of 24
  1. Question How to get a planted aquarium started


    0 Not allowed!
    Hey guys/ladies!!!! I have had fresh water fish tanks for a very long time and I like to think I'm pretty successful with it. I would like to take my hobby to the next step. I'm really interested in starting a fresh water planted tank. I've been watching YouTube videos and they seem to help but I still feel I need more info. If there is anyone out there that can give me some good advice on starting a planted tank, I would greatly appreciate it. Oh and by the way, I'd like to use a 10 gal. tank to start this project.

    Some of the questions I have:

    What kind and how often should the substrate be replaced?

    How often should a water exchange be done on a planted tank?

    Is CO2 required in all planted tanks and how do you know if CO2 is needed or not needed to maintain the aquarium?

  2. #2

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Since nobody else has chimed in, I will take a crack at answering. Disclaimer: I am a newbie myself, but have researched this quiet a bit, so I do have some info to share. If nothing else, my answers will give the more knowledgeable users here something to refute

    - CO2 is not required on all planted tanks. In general, if you stick with plants that require low light and are not fast growers, you should not need CO2. If you go with low-light, slow growth plants you can omit CO2, get away with minimal fertilization, and have what is called a "low-tech" planted aquarium. If you search "low tech aquarium" I'm sure you will find lots of info.

    - One of the main reasons for water changes is, as you know, eliminating accumulated nitrates. Depending on how heavily plated your tank is, you can do water changes somewhat less frequently than in a non-planted tank, because plants absorb nitrates. Some people go several weeks without a water change. But since it depends on you stocking, your tank size, and the amount and types of plants you have, you should probably monitor your nitrate levels at first to get an idea of how quickly they accumulate in your tank, and go from there.

    - In terms of substrate, it depends on the types of plants you have. Some plants are floating, and some plants are attached to rocks or driftwood, so for these plants the substrate is not important. They get their nutrition from the water. For plants that are rooted in the substrate, you want a substrate with a grain size of no more than about 3 mm. Many people even use some type of coarse sand like pool filter sand or blasting sand. There are two types of substrates: inert substrates (like sand) that do not contribute any nutrients to the water, and there are substrates (like eco-complete) that are designed to provide your plants the nutrients they need. Depending on the needs of your plants, if using an inert substrate you might need to add something to provide your plants the nutrients they need. This can be done by using "root tabs" that you place on the substrate every now and then, and slowly dissolve to provide the required nutrients, or by mixing your substrate with something like fluorite or laterite when you first set it up. These additives are designed to provide your plants the required nutrients over the long term. Some people layer their substrates, by adding first the fluorite/laterite, and then adding a layer of sand on top. You can find lots of detailed info on substrates on this forum and others.

    The main thing with plants is balancing the 3 sources of nutrients: light, fertilizers, and CO2. If you have low-light plants, you probably don't want to add CO2 and will need small amounts of fertilization. For high-light plants you probably will need to add CO2 and higher amounts of fertilizer. If these are all in balance and in the right amounts for your plants, the plants thrive, and they use up nutrients in the water that would have allowed algae to grow. If one of these is out of balance with others, plant growth is limited by teh most scarce nutrient. The plants don't do well, and algae may take advantage of the other "left over" nutrients to start growing in your tank.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
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    Thanks for the birthday wishes - mommy1 and gift - mommy1 Thanks for the rep - Cliff Thanks for the rep, have a cool one on me, Cheers - Cliff Thanks and a new fish for the tank - glarior 
    Thanks for the gorgeous slide show! - fishmommie Thanks for the rep the other day - Cliff It's a Sudbury Saturday Night, Cheers - Cliff Hockey finals can not be watched without a hockey pop or two - Cliff Thanks for the rep :) - Greentoads41 
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    +1 to wgoldfarb.

    Your plants require light. The type of plant you are interested in keeping will determine the amount/intensity of the light you will require.

    C02 is extreme for feeding plants that require more food then your tanks eco-system can give or you want your plants to really grow.

    Just a hint from someone who went through the live plant stage; start with easy to grow low light plants like java fern or anubias. Start with maybe one of each and watch/monitor how it's doing. Plants cost money, lighting costs money, and fert's cost money. Go slowly and see how things are doing.
    As far as changing out the substrate goes, once you have it in the tank with plants just a weekly vacuum of the top surface should be enough to keep it in the tank for years. Adding the right fertilizer (liquid or pellet form) for the type of plants you have may be a requirement if your fish stock isn't feeding the plants enough with their waste.
    I would still do a weekly water change in a planted tank. Mine was 20% weekly in my 55 gallon tank. It just kept things going well.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

    Please remember; every keystroke has a consequence.

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    I agree, keep it simple. I have run planted tanks for 20+ years and never used CO2. There is more CO2 occurring from the breakdown of organics in the substrate than many realize. I rarely touch the substrate for this reason. And in my view the best substrate is play sand. All nutrients needed by plants have to be in the water, whether you add them as liquid, substrate tabs, or they leech from an enriched substrate into the surrounding water, so you might as well rely on liquid fertilizers and tabs.

    [I would attach a photo of my 70g flooded Amazon forest tank to show what this method can look like, but I still can't upload photos here.]

    Byron.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,762

    Awards Showcase

    Thanks for the birthday wishes - mommy1 and gift - mommy1 Thanks for the rep - Cliff Thanks for the rep, have a cool one on me, Cheers - Cliff Thanks and a new fish for the tank - glarior 
    Thanks for the gorgeous slide show! - fishmommie Thanks for the rep the other day - Cliff It's a Sudbury Saturday Night, Cheers - Cliff Hockey finals can not be watched without a hockey pop or two - Cliff Thanks for the rep :) - Greentoads41 
    Thanks for the Rep!! - steeler1 Merry Christmas! - steeler1 Merry Christmas - Cliff May you be living as high as the holiday hog this coming year! - Trillianne Happy New Year - mommy1 
    Thank you for the birthday wishes. - mommy1 Thanks for the Rep!! - steeler1 Have a Birthday fish!! - steeler1 Here you go sir, I just wish it had been a good game. - steeler1 Here's to one crummy Superbowl, lol! - Slaphppy7 
    Troop and Military Support - Amber Alert - Bladder Cancer - Endometriosis - Equality - Liver Cancer - Liver Disease - Missing Children - POW/MIA - Spina Bifida - Suicide - Strider199 

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    I would love to see that tank kermit58.

    The Amazon forest theme has been my theme for many years. It's now my sons as I've gone to a reef tank.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

    Please remember; every keystroke has a consequence.

  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Devro777 View Post
    H
    Some of the questions I have:

    What kind and how often should the substrate be replaced?
    There's a post wandering around here somewhere on substrates for planted tanks. Depending on what you use exactly it should last at least 18 months
    How often should a water exchange be done on a planted tank?
    About as often as any other tank.
    Is CO2 required in all planted tanks and how do you know if CO2 is needed or not needed to maintain the aquarium?
    Co2 is required for plants. But I suspect your question is more "do I need to add co2" to which the answer is probably a no unless you're looking for a dense carpet planting.

    Planting really isn't difficult.
    - lights
    - soil
    - nutrients

    that's it.
    My methods aren't unlike kermit's but I prefer pool filter sand over play sand

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Strider199 View Post
    I would love to see that tank kermit58.
    +1! I am setting up my first tank and it is based on the Orinoco River, so I would love to see your Amazon tank for inspiration!

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    Failed again. Can someone please tell me how to upload a photo? It is jpg so that is OK, and it is 75KB (640 X 227) so that should not be too large. Thanks.

    Byron.

  9. #9

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I stick it on photobucket and then copy/paste the code here. Be happy to help if you send me the picture.

  10. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you all so much for your helpful info. It's been more then helpful and should have me off to a great start. But I really do appreciate all the info. You guys pretty much filled in all the blanks for me. And kermit58, I'd love to see your tank when you get the picture situation figured out. I'm new to this site so I'm no help but once again, thank all of you!!!

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