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Old 03-02-2014, 01:39 AM   #1
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Total noob got some questions

So, I've got this 20 gallon acrylic aquarium, and I like the idea and look of a planted tank, but don't know the first thing about what kind if plants, equipment, time, ect. Would anybody care to break it down for me or link to an existing post/website where I can find some more info?
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:52 AM   #2
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Well you need the right lighting spectrum 6000ish Kelvin is the right one (the swirly light bulbs). You also may suggest substrate. make sure it isn't to hard for the plants to move their roots or even spread. Fertilizer is another thing that is good for the plants too. Finally right fish stock and a CO2 system is the optimum care for your plants. I myself am still a noob, but I am sharing what I have been taught. I planted my tank a while ago and without ever consulting websites. I have a too high light spectrum and algae bloom everywhere. I never used fertilizers so I just used seachem excel and it is helping the algae blooms. Make sure you plant them correctly or they could float up and ruin your filter (like it did mine). Some plants like root tabs which I have yet to get. They give the substrate nutrients some plants need like anubias, swordplants, hygrophilas, and crypto's. The easiest to start off with would be an anubias. it is very hardy and forgiving. just make sure you don't plant the big root. that's it that I know. Good luck, i hope you have better experience than i did
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:48 AM   #3
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Subscribing so I can reply once I get to a computer. It's easier to type this much out with a real keyboard
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:03 AM   #4
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^ mebbid rocks. Got my kleiner bar sword growing like a weed! New leaf every other day!
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:11 AM   #5
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Hi and welcome to AA. As frightydog has ready stated light and substrate will be the most important factors for a good looking planted tank. Also you have to think of how you want it to look like. For beginners (not saying im an expert) i would recommend a low light, low tech set up. Plants like java moss, java fern, and anubias work well. As far as lighting all I can only recommend is what I use and know. I did a diy light, since im a cheapskate ( probably considered low to med light) and I use seachem florite dark.

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Old 03-02-2014, 12:19 PM   #6
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Alright, I'll try to cover everything one thing at a time.

Substrate - Any type of substrate will work. In my 55g I use plain sand but am planning on moving up to dirted when I upgrade to a larger tank. Regardless of what type of fertilizer you use you will need to use root tabs but the specific plant substrates will make it a little easier to get the nutrients to your rooting plants. A lot of people buy commercial root tabs for their plants which are sub par or else they make their own root tabs which is a far more effective option. The home made root tabs that I use cost about $0.004 each and last 2 months or so.

Light - This is the most important thing as it will determine everything you do with your tank. Low light is the least maintenance and usually involves a single t8 bulb or low end LED fixture. With low light you won't necessarily need fertilizers or carbon for your plants even though it can help them grow a little faster. Moving up to medium to high light levels it is highly recommended that fertilizers get added to the aquarium as well as a carbon source.

Fertilizers - For low light tanks the liquid seachem ferts are a viable choice. They don't offer a whole lot of nutrients but that's just fine when you have slow growing plants. At medium and high light it is fairly standard to use dry ferts on a specific dosing regimen. The dry ferts are commonly bought from Green Leaf Aquariums and are dosed according to the Estimative Index (EI) or the Perpetual Preservation System (PPS - Pro)

Carbon - There are only 2 real source of carbon supplementation when it comes to planted tanks. Again, this isn't particularly necessary in a low light tank although it will help. The first is Glutaraldehyde. This is commonly bought in the form of Excel which is a Seachem product or Metricide 14 day sterilizing solution. They are basically the same thing except that the metricide is 2x as strong so you only need to dose half as much as well as being WAY cheaper. Start out with 1ml / 10g of excel or 1ml / 20g of metricide and work your way up from there. You can safely go up to 1ml / 1 gallon or 1ml / 2 gallon respectively but that build up needs to be slow so as not to shock your system.

Plant selection -

Low light plant list - Excellent List of Low Light Plants

After that you will have to do some research about some plants you want and figure out the light level from there.

Algae - Algae tends to grow when there is an imbalance of light, ferts, and carbon in the aquarium. The most common cause is improper amount of carbon.

Like was said previously, it's easier to start out with a low light system and learn that way than it is to jump straight in at higher light levels (which is what I did)
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:41 PM   #7
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Question.... i have modded my hob filter with some bio and want to add the carbon zeolite grain mix but the container says for my size aquarium witch is 36 gallon freshwater seems like alot... anyone that could help right away would be awesome i have the filter in mod mode now
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:13 PM   #8
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The other GREAT resource you have about planted tanks is right here in front of you. Read back through a lot of the old posts in this planted tank section. After a few weeks of reading you will get an enormous amount of information and a feel for what issues all of us "planters" have to be concerned with. Such a great resource! As well as GREAT people. OS.
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