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Old 04-05-2011, 04:09 AM   #1
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total n00b to plants!

Well first off, I have a 50 gal tank with 2 goldfish, and a 10 gallon with my betta... I have a 20 gallon tank which I hope to convert into a community tank, with REAL plants haha. the problem is I have NO idea about care for plants, what they need, if you can stick sand over their grounding, and how do you clean the ground (these are dumb questions but I know NOTHING about it. I just learned proper care for my goldfish)
Are there certain fish that can't handle plants?
pretty much any information on plants would be awesome, and how you care for them.
Sorry this question is ... filled with questions, but I want to know what I might be getting into lol
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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What are you going to have in the 20g? You can stick to low light plants which will require little to no maintenance. Some options are java ferns, java moss, vals, some crypts, etc. Cleaning the substrate (sand) is easier than gravel IMO. All you have to do is swirl the vacuum above the substrate and all the waste gets sucked up.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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The biggest trick to starting with plants is picking fully aquatic species that are suitable for your light level. Many stores sell plants like mondo grass and white ribbon plants that are really swamp plants and will die if fully submerged. Here's a good list of non-aquatics: PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide

I have sand in all my tanks. The plants have no problem rooting in the sand. Sand doesn't have any nutrients, so adding root tabs to the substrate or fertilizers to the water column will help if you've got a light bioload in the tank. All fish will benefit from plants.

I would go with the low-light plants meegosh suggested. It's a good way to get started without needing to buy a lot of new equipment or do a lot of maintenance.
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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I'm thinking about trying plants too! Definitely following this thread!
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:59 AM   #5
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You basically need three things. Light, nutrients, and CO2. The higher the light, the higher the other two need to be.

http://www.plantedtank.net/articles/...lanted-Tank/4/

This is a good article on starting up
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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In my experience, depending on the plants, you don't need CO2 (this is for low-maintenance plants). I am growing plants in normal gravel with proper light and using root tabs. however, I would highly recommend plants that feed from the water column (like anacharis) simply because of how easy they are. If you have proper lighting, anacharis will grow in no time.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
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again, i'll sound dumb, but what do you mean by the water column? like they suck the nutrients that are floating in the water? (I have no plant experience :P )
And I don't know which fish I want yet, obviously just small community fish, but not sure which kind
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:58 PM   #8
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Hey, we just brought 5 new live plants for my 15 gallon tank which houses 3 corys, 2 swordtails and 2 guppies. What kinda things should I be doing to maintain healthy plants? Thanks
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Old 04-05-2011, 11:20 PM   #9
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Yes, the water column is just the water in the tank.

For a basic low-light tank you really don't have to much of anything to maintain plants except leave your light on for 8-10 hours a day. Fish waste will provide the necessary nutrients.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:00 AM   #10
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Again I know nothing about this, but what would it require to get a set up similar to this I just want to know if thats possible. I dont know if these plants are too high maintenance though since I dont know what they are lol... I was thinking about the stock today, I think I want a dwarf gourami as a centerpiece, and I like mollies, guppies, and panda cories... I would consider neon tetras too, but I dont know how many fish I can even get in the tank and I like mollies and guppies more... Are any of those fish compatible with the gourami, and how many of each should I get (Im just used to my goldfish needing a giant tank for one fish so I dont have a clue about community fish) and any other fish suggestions would be good Dont really like danios though sorry
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:18 AM   #11
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Forgot to mention, my water I use for the tanks is extremely hard... is that bad for the plants or any of these fish, and is there a way to soften it
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:38 AM   #12
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Chances are that's a high-tech tank with fancy lighting, pressurized CO2 injection, and lots of landscaping effort. If you're interested in knowing a bit more about a high-tech tank, I've detailed my experience in the LED link in my signature. I've managed to start a high-light tank pretty cheaply and I'm loving it. It's still a work in progress though.

You could do something like this:
- 1 dwarf gourami
- 3-4 male guppies
- 5-6 panda cories
- 5-8 neons

If you get pairs of guppies, you'll quickly be overrun with fry. Mollies get pretty big for a 20g. A big male sailfin molly can hit 5".
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #13
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I didn't know that about the mollies! thanks, would
1 dwarf gourami
3-4 male guppies
4 panda cories
1-2 platies (I don't know if they'll fit, or if they need to be in schools)
and 6 tetras? or would that be overstocking (I would say 5 tetras but don't they need schools of 6 or more?) :O
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:54 PM   #14
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I think I'd still go with 5-6 cories, but that stock could work if you're sure to get platies of the same sex. Platies are also livebearers have this nasty habit of overrunning a tank.

What filter are you planning to run? If you haven't decided, consider an AC50 or another oversized filter if you want to stock the tank heavily.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:59 PM   #15
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I knew I was going to pick an ac, just wasn't sure how strong, but i'll get an ac 50 I have another one for my goldfish (aswell as a 70) so It'll be even easier to stock up on the foam,etc
would just one platy work? :O Also, can I get cories of different kinds, like not just panda cories? or will they not shoal together then? (I guess this is off topic for plants, sorry)
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:01 PM   #16
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on the topic of plants, I'm looking at some mosses and stuff, I found star moss and think its so pretty!, is it easy to care for? and what kind of plants are easy? for low light kinds do they still require special types of lighting?
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:07 PM   #17
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You can jam two AC50 sponges in the same space as an AC70 sponge. I grabbed a 3-pack recently and started seeding some extra sponges for future breeding tanks.

I haven't really noticed platies suffering by themselves. One would work. Some species of cories will shoal together, others won't. It's a crap shoot really.

Everything I've read about star moss is that it's non-aquatic or really difficult to keep alive. Good easy low-light plants are java fern, most aquatic mosses, most crypts, vals, and anubias. Stock lighting is often enough for some low-light plants. If you've got an incandescent hood, a few CFL bulbs do wonders.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:13 PM   #18
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CFL? (sorry I don't know what it stands for) haha but I do have an incandescent hood
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:15 PM   #19
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CFL = Compact Fluorescent Light

The spiral fluorescents you screw into an incandescent socket. I've got a pair of 18W daylight spectrum CFLs I picked up at the hardware store over my 20L and my plants grow like weeds. You're actually better off with an incandescent hood in this case.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #20
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Cool, so it's not like a special aquarium lightbulb, just go to home hardware or something?
Also, what are root tabs? How do I use them? and would I use them as well as fertalizer in the water, or are they kind of the same thing?
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