Going for the planted tank ;)

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquariums' started by JJL, May 9, 2011.

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  1. JJL

    JJL Purple Tang

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    I have 3 FW tanks and I want one (my 55) to be turned into a planted tank. I got inspired by 2in10 ;) What an awesome planted tank
    When it comes to these types of tanks I really do not know much. Do I need special lighting? Are there any plants I could put in that only need half decent lighting (plants that need the lowest light?) Are there certain fish that will not work in planted tanks? Do I need special substrate? Are there special supplements that need to be added to your tank?
    Looks like I need to do some research, but if somebody could answer these quetions for me that would be great ::)
    JJL
     
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  3. tharsis

    tharsis Peppermint Shrimp

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    hahah that is ALOT of questions.

    I suggest heading on over to plantedtank.net it is a wonderful resource for every aspect of planted tanks.

    To answer a few of your questions. You can choose to go low-medium-high light (depending on what light you use) which will ultimately affect your substrate choices/plant type/fertilizer dosing regime/CO2 addtiion. So for your 55 gallon tank, if you wanted low light, you could go with T8's or T5 normal outputs.

    There are alot of wonderful low light tanks ~50 umol or less. And there are tons of low light plants that do really well. Examples are swords/java jern/anubias/vallisnaria/dwarf sagitarius/cryptocoryne...the list goes on and on and on.

    You will need to have fertilizer in the substrate if you have rooted plants. You can buy premade soil that has everything you need (eco complete) or you can use inert substrate (playsand) and put in fertilizer tabs (root tabs) which you replace every 3-4 months.

    You can also add fertilizer directly to the water column in the form of liquid ferts (Seachem has a whole line but they are very pricey). You can also dry dose for phosphate and nitrates in the form of potassium phosphate and potassium nitrates (easily obtained over the internet). Adding a form of organic carbon is very helpful as well either in the form of injecting CO2 into the water column or as Excel/Metricide (eseentially just glutaraldehyde and water).

    If you are in the low light region, you wouldn't need to dose very much fertilizer or organic carbon because the plant growth is not that fast. in higher light set-ups, the plants grow much faster so they require alot more nutrients. Any sort of deficiency will ultimately lead to poor plant health and will open the door to algae problems. High light tanks are generally considered more difficult to keep because there is less room for error with supplying organic carbon and the other nutrients.

    But low light tanks are a great starting point, because you can really get a feel for how the dosing affects plant growth without worrying about creating an algae farm.
     
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  4. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    +1 ^^^

    Aquariumplants.com has a very nice substrate and fertilization system. If you do go with their substrate it will drop your pH very rapidly. You will need to dose FW alkalinity daily for several days until everything balances out and will then need to dose weekly or sooner for a couple of months after that depending on how hard your water is.
     
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  5. JJL

    JJL Purple Tang

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    Thanks so much for the info.....really a lot of help ;)
    I will have to do more research though
    I hope to start making the change maybe....June
    THANKS AGAIN!
    JJL
     
  6. tharsis

    tharsis Peppermint Shrimp

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    no problem :)

    Definitely use plantedtank as a resource for your research, there are some VERY knowledgeable people there and they are always willing to help. Very informative stickies as well, from lighting, to dosing, to algae.

    Good luck with the transition!
     
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  7. JJL

    JJL Purple Tang

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    Thanks so much ;)
    I dont really know where to start...LOL
    If you could put together a small list of steps for me that would be great!
    I think I am going to keep the lighting I have then just get plants that only need low lighting...does that sound ok? Or should I replace the lighting completely (rather not...unless it is a MUST)
    I just looked at your planted 75....its extraordinary ;)
    You should be very proud of it
    JJL
     
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  9. SushiGirl

    SushiGirl Barracuda

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    OMG, take lots of pics, please! I love planted tanks, it was one of my fav things when I had FW. That's the one thing I miss about SW, all the plants!
     
  10. JJL

    JJL Purple Tang

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    Dont worry I will :)
    Why not have a planted tank and a reef tank....best of both worlds ;)
    Patience, SushiGirl I already set my unofficial starting date to early June :)
    LOL
    JJL
     
  11. JJL

    JJL Purple Tang

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    Just looked on the site...really awesome :)
    I hope to get some plants from there when I am ready
    I looked at the supplements and additives, there is SO MUCH. What supplements should I get? Should I start adding them before I actually get the plants? ACan you please recommend some books so I could learn more about planted tanks.
    Thank you very much :)
    JJL
     
  12. tharsis

    tharsis Peppermint Shrimp

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    What do you have for lighting right now? I would imagine that whatever you have should be fine for lowlight(unless it is a single strip T8 or something).

    The first planted tank I had was a 55 gallon with 2 X T8 shoplight that I bought from Lowes and it was a great experience. I will post a few pics if I can find them.

    I started with several Amazon swords, an ozelot sword, a whole bunch of jungle vals for the background. I used dwarf sagittarius as the foreground plant. I found the dwarf sag to be a great beginner plant, it sends out runners like mad and quickly spreads. Cryptocoryne Wendtii is a really good midground plant that I used as well. Once it is established it grows quite rapidly and is easy to progagate. Hygrophila difformis is a great stem plant that grows really well in low light, and gets really bushy. These plants were great for me to start with and i recommend them to any beginner.

    What substrate do you have now?

    Vague checklist:

    Get your lighting and substrate squared away. Figure out what plants you want/can have based on the lighting and type of fish. Order you plants and ferts. Plant the plants, stick to your dosing schedule and thats it. I can help you figure out your dosing when you know what plants you want. It will be pretty easy at low light though.