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Old 08-24-2012, 11:11 PM   #1
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Turning an unplanted tank into a planted tank

Greetings!

I've been running my 55 gallon freshwater tank for close to five years now. When I inherited the tank, it contained only artificial plants. I would really like to move in a more natural direction and add some real plants to my tank. I have conducted research on lighting, CO2, etc., but I had a few other questions:
  • As of right now, I only have about an inch of gravel. I am assuming that I will have to add more gravel (12 inches?) to give the roots a good grip. Should I simply add more gravel to the top of what I already have?
  • Do I need to add any type of fertilizer or nutrients to the gravel or is this optional based on species? If I must, what's the best way to go about doing this in an existing tank? All of the how-to's I've read seem to focus on newly set-up tanks.

Thanks in advance for any replies!
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by follicle
Greetings!

I've been running my 55 gallon freshwater tank for close to five years now. When I inherited the tank, it contained only artificial plants. I would really like to move in a more natural direction and add some real plants to my tank. I have conducted research on lighting, CO2, etc., but I had a few other questions:

[*]As of right now, I only have about an inch of gravel. I am assuming that I will have to add more gravel (1–2 inches?) to give the roots a good grip. Should I simply add more gravel to the top of what I already have?
[*]Do I need to add any type of fertilizer or nutrients to the gravel or is this optional based on species? If I must, what's the best way to go about doing this in an existing tank? All of the how-to's I've read seem to focus on newly set-up tanks.


Thanks in advance for any replies!
Welcome to AA. There are a number of ferts you can use. Some people use the tabs that you push under your substrate & others use liquid form, some may even use both. I use liquid & add it once a week when I do a water change. My substrate in my tanks is about an 1" to 1-1/2" deep, gravel. I have the simpler, easier plants such as annubias, java, & swords. I have no special lighting just what came with my tanks & so far so good. There are others on here who have HEAVILY planted tanks that are beautiful, mine I'd say are light to medium.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Welcome to AA. There are a number of ferts you can use. Some people use the tabs that you push under your substrate & others use liquid form, some may even use both. I use liquid & add it once a week when I do a water change. My substrate in my tanks is about an 1" to 1-1/2" deep, gravel. I have the simpler, easier plants such as annubias, java, & swords. I have no special lighting just what came with my tanks & so far so good. There are others on here who have HEAVILY planted tanks that are beautiful, mine I'd say are light to medium.
Thanks for the advice! This is the route I'm looking to go (light to medium). I'll look into the plants you mentioned. Thanks for the input!
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:29 AM   #4
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If you're looking to add just a couple of plants, look at Tank Planters. I use them in my bare bottom breeding tanks, mainly for my visual benefit, and they work great for the intended purpose.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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You can add or change the substrate in the tank, depends on what you want to do. Recently I wanted to change substrate in a 55, so I removed the fish, took about 50% of the water out, put in the new substrate (in my case Eco-complete), planted, and then put the fish right back in. It didn't make that big of a mess since the orginal substrate wasn't looked with muck. I didn't even get a mini cycle, which I think is due to leaving the filters, old water, and adding plants. The fish did fine. If you want to add deep rooter plants like swords then I'd add at least another 1/2". I have 1-1/2 inches of organic soil capped with -1/2 inches of Eco-complete. Even crypts will root deeper and better with a thicker layer. Hope this info helps.
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