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Old 10-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
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Starting planted in established tank.

I have a 72 gal that's been established for about a year. I am wanting to change the substrate and add live plants. I'm wondering how big/long of a project this may be and also what are some good hardy plants to start with. This will be my first planted aquarium, so any advice anyone has to offer would be appreciated. Also I do have a 48" coralife t5 4 bulb for when I do add plants.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:31 PM   #2
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I have a 72 gal that's been established for about a year. I am wanting to change the substrate and add live plants. I'm wondering how big/long of a project this may be and also what are some good hardy plants to start with. This will be my first planted aquarium, so any advice anyone has to offer would be appreciated. Also I do have a 48" coralife t5 4 bulb for when I do add plants.
I totally forgot to mention on your last thread... Your substrate switch can be done fish IN. I wouldn't stress too much. Do a few decent gravel vacs PRIOR to starting the switch during your next couple of water changes.

Bulbs for your fixture two 6.7k and two 10k should be decent for you. Just keep in mind that starting out with HIGH light can often lead to algae growth. Keep an eye on the photoperiod when you get started.

If at all possible get some plants from a fellow aquarist to get started as they tend to be cheaper and you can get a decent variety. crypts, swords, and ferns are decent starting places for plants
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:04 PM   #3
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I totally forgot to mention on your last thread... Your substrate switch can be done fish IN. I wouldn't stress too much. Do a few decent gravel vacs PRIOR to starting the switch during your next couple of water changes.

Bulbs for your fixture two 6.7k and two 10k should be decent for you. Just keep in mind that starting out with HIGH light can often lead to algae growth. Keep an eye on the photoperiod when you get started.

If at all possible get some plants from a fellow aquarist to get started as they tend to be cheaper and you can get a decent variety. crypts, swords, and ferns are decent starting places for plants
I was lead to believe that I would have to empty the tank to mix the substrate with the nutrient bed. Might be a dumb question but is the laterite clay necessary for planted?
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:22 PM   #4
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I was lead to believe that I would have to empty the tank to mix the substrate with the nutrient bed. Might be a dumb question but is the laterite clay necessary for planted?
Honestly..... I say no way. Especially if you are just getting started. My tank is just black blasting sand and the plants are flourishing. certainly not a dumb question.

Convict had an awesome thread on his fish in switch. I'll see if I can locate it.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
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Honestly..... I say no way. Especially if you are just getting started. My tank is just black blasting sand and the plants are flourishing. certainly not a dumb question.

Convict had an awesome thread on his fish in switch. I'll see if I can locate it.
Blasting sand? Like the kind used in a sand blaster?
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:32 PM   #6
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Blasting sand? Like the kind used in a sand blaster?
That would be correct. Black diamond blasting sand.

Here is his thread. It is long but very detailed. I cannot remember now if he did his fish in... but either way he walks through his switch. Changing to sand this weekend.

I know when I did mine it was fish in. Vac your tank during prior water changes, super clean your sand, drain the water to about half way, take out old substrate, put in new, refill, allow it to settle, turn on filters. Keep an eye on your fish throughout the process.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:52 PM   #7
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That would be correct. Black diamond blasting sand.

Here is his thread. It is long but very detailed. I cannot remember now if he did his fish in... but either way he walks through his switch. Changing to sand this weekend.

I know when I did mine it was fish in. Vac your tank during prior water changes, super clean your sand, drain the water to about half way, take out old substrate, put in new, refill, allow it to settle, turn on filters. Keep an eye on your fish throughout the process.
Where can I get that sand? Just a hardware store? I like the look of the black aragonite, but the LFS charges so much for it.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:58 PM   #8
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I purchased mine at a local "tractor supply" store... Somewhat like a hardware store but different. It was about eight dollars for fifty pounds.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:33 PM   #9
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I purchased mine at a local "tractor supply" store... Somewhat like a hardware store but different. It was about eight dollars for fifty pounds.
Oh ok. There's a tractor supply not to far from me actually. Also northern tool and equip which is pretty much the same thing. I'll def have to check that out. How big a pain was it to get it clean.
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Oh ok. There's a tractor supply not to far from me actually. Also northern tool and equip which is pretty much the same thing. I'll def have to check that out. How big a pain was it to get it clean.
Also I'm wondering how your Kh levels are with the blasting sand. Do you have to dose to keep your buffer up?
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #11
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Welllllllllllll! Cleaning. I've purchased three different bags (its in all of my tanks, but one) and each one has been different. One was reallllllllly dirty, one not as bad, and the other one barely needed rinsing. A bucket and a hose and some patience.

My grandfather has it in his African tank and his kh is a tad low, but then he doesn't do regular water changes. The angel tank is the only one I "worry" about but just ensure I do frequent water changes as my water is inherently hard. My 100g which has a mixed community it is perfect.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:30 PM   #12
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Welllllllllllll! Cleaning. I've purchased three different bags (its in all of my tanks, but one) and each one has been different. One was reallllllllly dirty, one not as bad, and the other one barely needed rinsing. A bucket and a hose and some patience.

My grandfather has it in his African tank and his kh is a tad low, but then he doesn't do regular water changes. The angel tank is the only one I "worry" about but just ensure I do frequent water changes as my water is inherently hard. My 100g which has a mixed community it is perfect.
Yea after some research it's supposed to be inert so it shouldn't affect my water chemistry. Do you have any bottom dwellers like loaches or corys? I ask because I've read some mixed reviews from people saying that it possibly destroys barbels on these kinds of fish but then others have said they've used it for years with no ill effects. Although I'm inclined to believe that it was most likely poor water conditions causing the problems with barbels.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:57 PM   #13
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For plants, i give a strong recommendation of java fern. It feels like you can put it in straight acid and it will survive (ok, its not that hardy....)
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:51 AM   #14
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I used clay laterite mixed with my gravel and my plants love it!! I recommend it.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:57 PM   #15
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I used clay laterite mixed with my gravel and my plants love it!! I recommend it.
I agree. Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil works just about as well as laterite. I had it in two 55 gallon planted tanks that I ran for years. It was under the plain pea gravel but either way it works (mixed or layered). Laterite is much pricier that Shultz but it's a great product to help out normal gravel.
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