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Old 02-17-2010, 01:44 AM   #1
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My First Planted tank - 45g Journal

Well this is going to be my first true planted tank. Right now I have a 45g tank with like 3-4 plants in it, but I have no clue how they are surviving. There is no good subtrate (currently have typical gravel). Actually, pictures speak a 1000 words right?



So this is my current set up, its ok but pretty bland as you can see most of my plants are not vibrant and look like they are barely hanging on. Well after realizing my passion was in the plants over the fish (I know right?), I decided to do some heavy research in planted tanks (hello forum!). I came across an amazing site which basically had an outline for any newcomer to planted tanks could ask for. Here is what I gathered.

Substrate: Should be porous with high CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity), some good ones are Flourite, Eco-Complete, and Onyx-Sand. Also was told a light dusting of peat or Lenardite or mulm is good for a substrate as well.

Was also told to avoid soul substrates because they can have unwanted ammonia spikes and hidden parasites. So basically I decided I am going to go with the Flourite or Eco-Complete, depending on what my LPS has. If both I will go with what everone looks cooler to me.

Next Lighting: Well I was told the general rule for lighting is 2-5 WPG, for low tech tho you want to go about 1.5 WPG ideally. The reason I am mostly looking up low tech is the co2 injections, kinda bothered by them with the extra testing, trying to do as much, well, as least work as possible. I am trying to go for a self maintaining tank. I have read that the more plants the better. Anyway!

For lighting it talked about a multitude of things like. SPiral CFL's are less efficient so I should aim for ones that are 2-2.5 WPG instead. I also read that T5 tubes are super effective and can do about 1-1.2 WPG for them.

Also read about a rating where people say go for bulbs that are 5500k-8000k, where the ideal would be around 6500k. No clue what that means, but I am sure its on the box somewhere, when I buy the light. lol.

Next Planting: Was told when starting out should get very dense, and only be able to see about 10-15% of the substrate, and about 50% of the plants should be fast growing.

Also Filtration should be have at least cycle the tanks water 10-15 times per hour. Which for mine is about 450-675g per hour. Since my AquaClear is 110 series and is for upto 100g tanks, I assume it does that.

So my list:

[ ] - Eco-Complete / Flourite
[x] - Aqua Clear 110 filter
[ ] - T5 tube, or some other lightbulb depending on cost
[ ] - Plants!! [Gonna need some help with picking these out guys]

The choices i have are:

limnophila aromatica
Amazon Sword - narrow leaf
Anubias barteri v barteri
Crypt Wendtii
Crypt Moehlmanni
Cryptocoryne ciliata
Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia
Java Fern - baby plantlets
Java Moss - christmas moss
Kleiner Bar Sword
Mint Charlie
Star Grass
Hornwort
Naja grass / Guppy Grass
"Red" - Tiger Lotus - Nymphaea Zenkeri
Sub Wassertang - unusual / rare
“Tiger” Vallisneria spiralis
Vallisneria spiralis
Water Lettuce - Pistia stratiotes
Water Sprite ( thin and regular )
Pond Penny

I have no clue what 90% of these look/are so I need you guys help with the planning of which plants I can get. The guy who has the plants has a lot of extras and I told him once I get my substrate and everything I would contact him for a list of things I want!

So guys, for this journal to go anywhere I need your help on picking out some plants, and any other additional information would be great!
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:13 AM   #2
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About the t5 bulb. It has to have a special t5 fixture so u less you have that you'll need a different type of lighting or a new fixture. Also heres good site that sells plants dw and a few other supplies that's run by someone on this forum:
Bobs Tropical Plants run by mgamer20o0
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:16 AM   #3
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About the t5 bulb. It has to have a special t5 fixture so u less you have that you'll need a different type of lighting or a new fixture. Also heres good site that sells plants dw and a few other supplies that's run by someone on this forum:
Bobs Tropical Plants run by mgamer20o0
Thanks for the heads up on the T5, probably will not get that one then, there are tons of other lights as long as the specs are right, right? And the person I am buying the plants from have unbeatable prices $1-4 a plant!
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:19 AM   #4
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Np. Just givin you some options. Good job on the research btw who are you getting them from? A local?
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:21 AM   #5
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Np. Just givin you some options. Good job on the research btw who are you getting them from? A local?
Sort of.. he lives 45minutes away, but is selling them rather cheap! I have to make sure they are good quality before i go driving down there, but I am hoping they are! I am looking for big tall plants and he is the only one who seems to have any..
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:27 AM   #6
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Well, just sayin, if you ever get the chance, You should look around on that site. And I'm glad you found a local to help you out, very convenient lol.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:32 AM   #7
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Well, just sayin, if you ever get the chance, You should look around on that site. And I'm glad you found a local to help you out, very convenient lol.
Hoping to find someone who is closer with a lot of extra plants

Edit:

I just looked up all the specs for each of the plants and put them in my Aquatic Notebook I have, with everything I want to do for my aquarium. I have Ph, lighting, temp, height, difficulty, growth rate, position etc. For each of the plants listened above..

Now I have to go to my LPS and see how my water is, the cost of substrate, prime, and multiple other things.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:38 AM   #8
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I have not had time to read the thread and i am gonna fall asleep on my keyboard so excuse me if i repeat something. In looking in that picture of yours i can tell you that the bamboo you have in there is gonna rot away because it is not a aquatic plant. Also the plant in the middle that is green with white edges will do the same thing. I would take them out and plant them in a pot. You can find all these plants outside but they are sold in pet stores as aquatic plants but that is a big old LIE. Also you so shoped at petco. It is the stuff they always have.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:03 AM   #9
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I have not had time to read the thread and i am gonna fall asleep on my keyboard so excuse me if i repeat something. In looking in that picture of yours i can tell you that the bamboo you have in there is gonna rot away because it is not a aquatic plant. Also the plant in the middle that is green with white edges will do the same thing. I would take them out and plant them in a pot. You can find all these plants outside but they are sold in pet stores as aquatic plants but that is a big old LIE. Also you so shoped at petco. It is the stuff they always have.
Its funny you mention that because they been in my tank for about month and half and have been growing rather well.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:13 PM   #10
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At first, they do grow but eventually 1 of those stalks will start to rot. I mean more power to you if you don't think it won't and you want to see for yourself. The other plant i was talking about i dont know 100% if it is that plant.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:20 PM   #11
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At first, they do grow but eventually 1 of those stalks will start to rot. I mean more power to you if you don't think it won't and you want to see for yourself. The other plant i was talking about i dont know 100% if it is that plant.
Im sure you are right, I barly know anything about this field, im just saying they are the only two plants actually doing well in my tank right now. The other ones have leaves dieing here and there, and im starting to get black on my moss, it could be because the water levels are off, but most likly I am going to be removing everything from the tank once I can afford subtrate, new light, and the ton of plants I am thinking of buying.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:30 PM   #12
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I didnt read anything about your lighting right now. What is it? Is it 1 of the plastic hoods with a single bulb? And do you know what kind of light you have in it?
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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Its just the stand hood with the stock bulb in it, I am on the train right now so I can't check, also since I don't know hlow old the bulb is I figured I'm going to need to replace it regardless.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:01 PM   #14
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So its a fluorescent fixture (with tubes)?
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:04 PM   #15
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Yup
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:42 PM   #16
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You can grow low light plants with that. A limited selection but you can.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:07 PM   #17
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You can grow low light plants with that. A limited selection but you can.
Well plans were to replace the bulb with something better.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:21 PM   #18
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So how important is it to have a good substrate, because I was told as long as I have supplements for it, its not that important and what I have is fine, (just normal gravel). Things I should get are, root tabs, micro nutrient mix, Mono Potassium Phosphate, MAgnesium sulfate ( Epsom Salts), Potassium Sulfate and other stuff.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:25 PM   #19
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Unless you have medium-high or high lighting you don't have much need for ferts. It just depends on the lighting (and the plants).
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:27 PM   #20
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What about the importance of substrate? Like Eco-Complete or even Flourite,
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