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Old 09-04-2013, 04:40 PM   #41
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Is it really necessary to boil twice and soak for a few weeks? The driftwood I bought was scrubbed a bit to get debris off, then boiled for two hours a piece, then rinsed and cooled, and put right into the tank and it sank. Could my driftwood have been already treated since it sank? It was dry when I bought it, too. now you have me worried that my driftwood is going to eventually poison my fish.
I meant it's good to do that if you pick the pieces from the creek or lake.... If you bought them from a store it should be fine.
The purpose of soaking it is so it will sink in your tank and the tannins leach out before you stick it in there.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:19 PM   #42
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For plants I like Amazon Sword, some kind of Dwarf Grass (can't remember what it was called exactly) I saw several other plants on DrFostersandSmith.com that I like but I can't remember all their names. Any other suggestions? What about EcoComplete vs sand?

Thanks for all the replies! I'm so thankful for all the kind and helpful people on AA!
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:56 PM   #43
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That light will keep you in the low light range for your plants. Stick with plants like java ferns, java moss, anubias, bolbitus, anarcharis, water wisteria. You could probably get away with an amazon sword, valisneria, some crypts and sagittaria. Dwarf Sagittaria or Micro Sword would be good choices for lower lighting ground cover plants.
If you stick with that lighting, you wont need to dose any ferts or co2, but they are never a bad idea. Look into Seachem Flourish comprehensive (ferts) and Seachem Flourish Excel (liquid carbon (co2)). Both can found at Petsmart. API also makes a liquid carbon. Root tabs can also be found there, I use the Seachem ones as well.
If you want light colored substrate, look into PFS (pool filter sand). You can get it at most any home depot type store during this season. Very inexpensive.
If you want dark substrate, there are several options, including sand, and eco-complete type substrates. If you have a petsmart near you, look into floramax. It is fairly inexpensive, and works great for planted tanks.
Check in the reptile section of Petsmart, you should find a nice assortment of real wood. I have several pieces of Mopani wood in my tanks from Petsmart.

Best of luck, natural tanks can be lots of fun!
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:11 PM   #44
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That light will keep you in the low light range for your plants. Stick with plants like java ferns, java moss, anubias, bolbitus, anarcharis, water wisteria. You could probably get away with an amazon sword, valisneria, some crypts and sagittaria. Dwarf Sagittaria or Micro Sword would be good choices for lower lighting ground cover plants.
If you stick with that lighting, you wont need to dose any ferts or co2, but they are never a bad idea. Look into Seachem Flourish comprehensive (ferts) and Seachem Flourish Excel (liquid carbon (co2)). Both can found at Petsmart. API also makes a liquid carbon. Root tabs can also be found there, I use the Seachem ones as well.
If you want light colored substrate, look into PFS (pool filter sand). You can get it at most any home depot type store during this season. Very inexpensive.
If you want dark substrate, there are several options, including sand, and eco-complete type substrates. If you have a petsmart near you, look into floramax. It is fairly inexpensive, and works great for planted tanks.
Check in the reptile section of Petsmart, you should find a nice assortment of real wood. I have several pieces of Mopani wood in my tanks from Petsmart.

Best of luck, natural tanks can be lots of fun!
I would be willing to upgrade my light if need be. I don't want to have to get a C02 system but I'd be fine with fertilizers and/or liquid C02. Thanks for the info on PFS! Is PFS good for many plants or what? I'm assuming all PFS is the same color right? I do have a local PetSmart, I'll see if I can find floramax. Is floramax as good as EcoComplete? I never thought to look into the reptile section for DW. I'll definitely check it out!

Thanks for all this info!
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:32 PM   #45
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I would be willing to upgrade my light if need be. I don't want to have to get a C02 system but I'd be fine with fertilizers and/or liquid C02. Thanks for the info on PFS! Is PFS good for many plants or what? I'm assuming all PFS is the same color right? I do have a local PetSmart, I'll see if I can find floramax. Is floramax as good as EcoComplete? I never thought to look into the reptile section for DW. I'll definitely check it out!

Thank for all this info!
Just be careful not to get grapewood, I hear it can harm your fish.

I bought my mopani DW from Petsmart and I'm pretty satisfied with it, it was about $7-9 if I remember correctly. Here it is in my tank.


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Old 09-05-2013, 08:43 AM   #46
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Just be careful not to get grapewood, I hear it can harm your fish.

I bought my mopani DW from Petsmart and I'm pretty satisfied with it, it was about $7-9 if I remember correctly. Here it is in my tank.
I was thinking on getting Malaysian DW. Nice tank BTW
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:28 AM   #47
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I was thinking on getting Malaysian DW. Nice tank BTW
One thing I like about Malaysian DW aside from the rich color and nooks and crannies is that it typically is dense and sinks easily. I found only one LFS in Northern VA that sells it.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #48
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One thing I like about Malaysian DW aside from the rich color and nooks and crannies is that it typically is dense and sinks easily. I found only one LFS in Northern VA that sells it.
I've heard that. I can't wait to get some. I'll either order it from DrFosterSmith or try to find it locally.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #49
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Petco sells mopani online but I bought mine at the store and paid like $10.00 for a medium size piece Here is a picture of mine and I just use a black sheet on the back of my tank for a background. I love the live plants and I buy 1 or 2 new ones everytime I go to the LFS.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:15 PM   #50
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Petco sells mopani online but I bought mine at the store and paid like $10.00 for a medium size piece Here is a picture of mine and I just use a black sheet on the back of my tank for a background. I love the live plants and I buy 1 or 2 new ones everytime I go to the LFS.
Nice tank! I think I'll get the Malaysian DW though.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:48 PM   #51
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I am thinking of getting some of that too! I have been waatching this thread because like you I want a more natural look I was going to pull all of my fish and plants out and put in dirt with a black sand cap. Then my livebearers all decided to drop their babies at once! So now I have to wait another month or so until they get big enough to get them all out. It helped the overall look of the tank taking out all of the hideous glow in the dark egg things my kids got me to put in there! My tank is kind of an evolution in process.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:18 PM   #52
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I am thinking of getting some of that too! I have been waatching this thread because like you I want a more natural look I was going to pull all of my fish and plants out and put in dirt with a black sand cap. Then my livebearers all decided to drop their babies at once! So now I have to wait another month or so until they get big enough to get them all out. It helped the overall look of the tank taking out all of the hideous glow in the dark egg things my kids got me to put in there! My tank is kind of an evolution in process.
Can't wait to see how it turns out! I'm still undecided on what substrate and plants I want. I'm probably gonna get EcoComplete or maybe PFS. As far as plants go I need to do some more research.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:45 PM   #53
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Is it possible to buy black PFS? I like EcoComplete but I'd like to get more than 20 lbs of it cause I'd like a thick 2-3 inch layer if it but buying 2 bags of it would be very expensive. I saw PFS at Home Depot for $6 for 50 lbs. I think I'd like the black color of EcoComplete because it brings out the plants and fishes color. So is black PFS sold anywhere? I would just get EcoComplete and I know that'd be better for plants but its too expensive for me right now.

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Old 09-05-2013, 07:53 PM   #54
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Is it possible to buy black PFS? I like EcoComplete but I'd like to get more than 20 lbs of it cause I'd like a thick 2-3 inch layer if it but buying 2 bags of it would be very expensive. I saw PFS at Home Depot for $6 for 50 lbs. I think I'd like the black color of EcoComplete because it brings out the plants and fishes color. So is black PFS sold anywhere? I would just get EcoComplete and I know that'd be better for plants but its too expensive for me right now.

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You could look for black blasting sand. Which is around the same price.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:23 PM   #55
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You could look for black blasting sand. Which is around the same price.
Funny, I was JUST doing some Googling around and found out about that. Luckily I have a local TSC if I plan to get some. The only thing I'm concerned about is if PFS or blasting sand would be as good for plants. I've also heard that EcoComplete breaks down fish waste for plants use. I would go with EcoComplete but like I said, I don't wanna pay $20 for a bag of it.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:36 PM   #56
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I was thinking on getting Malaysian DW. Nice tank BTW
Thank you! I really appreciate it!
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:51 PM   #57
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Thank you! I really appreciate it!
You're very welcome!
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:46 PM   #58
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So is EcoComplete worth the extra $$$? Or would it be ok to get black blasting sand or PFS? I like the black blasting sand color over the PFS. I definitely plan on having live plants so I'm thinking of the plants health when it comes to the substrate.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:51 PM   #59
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So is EcoComplete worth the extra $$$? Or would it be ok to get black blasting sand or PFS? I like the black blasting sand color over the PFS. I definitely plan on having live plants so I'm thinking of the plants health when it comes to the substrate.
You can use root tabs and be fine. But that amount will add up. Plus with sand you should use liquid ferts. The eco complete is probably the best choice and is $18 on petcos website. I bought it from them when it was $15 a bag. You could be patient and wait awhile for it. Or pay an extra $6 for convenience. I would go eco complete unless you are on a very strict budget. I personally have black eco complete and love it. My plants grow too fast!
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:57 PM   #60
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If you are looking for a cheaper alternative flora-max is basically Eco complete (same company too) but without the bacteria water. My 20 long has a mix of red flora max and black Eco complete and it looks very nice.
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