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Old 01-17-2019, 10:16 AM   #1
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First planted tank

Ive had a 20 long for about a year now and its just a community tank with an under gravel filter. I want to change things up and try something new so ive decided to try planted fish tankery. Any tips for a beginner? What plants to start with, what substrate to use ,that kind of thing?Click image for larger version

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Old 01-17-2019, 10:25 AM   #2
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You'll need to determine some goals:

Lighting - What is your current setup? Would you like to upgrade it?
CO2 - Are you wanting to run a CO2 system or no? Either way works well.
Fertilizing - Are you wanting to dose the water column, or have a nutrient rich substrate, or both??

These will help determine you plant selection.

Also:

Filtration - Are you wanting to keep you existing under-gravel filter?
Water source - What are the parameters of your water source?
Water changes - How often / how big are your water changes?
Water testing - What test kits do you have? pH, gH, kH, NO3, PO4 are some popular options for planted tanks.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZxC View Post
You'll need to determine some goals:

Lighting - What is your current setup? Would you like to upgrade it?
CO2 - Are you wanting to run a CO2 system or no? Either way works well.
Fertilizing - Are you wanting to dose the water column, or have a nutrient rich substrate, or both??

These will help determine you plant selection.

Also:

Filtration - Are you wanting to keep you existing under-gravel filter?
Water source - What are the parameters of your water source?
Water changes - How often / how big are your water changes?
Water testing - What test kits do you have? pH, gH, kH, NO3, PO4 are some popular options for planted tanks.


I want to get rid of the under gravel, i feel like it takes up too much of the tank, as a replacement ive decided to get the fluval C-2. I plan on getting the fluval plant 3.0 light. I know what Co2 diffusers do but i have no idea how CO2 defusers work or when they should be incorporated so any knowledge and advice on that would be appreciated. Im hoping to have a rich water column and substrate to give me as much range in plants as possible. I know im going to use aquarium coop fertilizer but i dont know what a good substrate would be. My tap water is around 7.5-7.7 ph and i haven’t tested the hardness but ive heard from other fish keepers in Minneapolis its pretty soft. I try to do 40-50% water changes regularly but I forget and my schedule can be erratic so it’s usually about once a month. Id be willing to make an effort to do them more often if it increases my range of plant choices. My test kit has PH , PO4 , nitrate and nitrite. Any advice about what my next move should be would be appreciated.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #4
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As ZxC noted, it’s important to figure out what you’d like to do regarding CO2, lights, and fertilizers. I usually don’t dose CO2, run basic lighting, and the only ferts I use are root tabs.
Personally, I find the easiest plants for low light tanks are java moss, java fern, and anubias.These plants are fantastic because they’re not demanding when it comes to light, and they’re very versatile in how they can be planted. Java moss can either be floated freely, or attached to decor with clear fishing line/beading thread/cotton thread or glued down with superglue. Java fern and anubias are both rhizome plants. The rhizome, a special part of the root system, must not be buried or the plant will die, so they can either have their roots planted in the substrate with the rhizome exposed, or tied/glued to rocks, wood, or decorations.
Some kinds of crypts (usually the wendtii, Which come in red, green and bronze), water wisteria, water sprite, and Brazilian pennywort can also work well. These are not rhizome plants, so you can plant them directly into the substrate. Pennywort can also be used as a floating plant, and doesn’t necessarily need to be planted.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:45 AM   #5
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As ZxC noted, it’s important to figure out what you’d like to do regarding CO2, lights, and fertilizers. I usually don’t dose CO2, run basic lighting, and the only ferts I use are root tabs.
Personally, I find the easiest plants for low light tanks are java moss, java fern, and anubias.These plants are fantastic because they’re not demanding when it comes to light, and they’re very versatile in how they can be planted. Java moss can either be floated freely, or attached to decor with clear fishing line/beading thread/cotton thread or glued down with superglue. Java fern and anubias are both rhizome plants. The rhizome, a special part of the root system, must not be buried or the plant will die, so they can either have their roots planted in the substrate with the rhizome exposed, or tied/glued to rocks, wood, or decorations.
Some kinds of crypts (usually the wendtii, Which come in red, green and bronze), water wisteria, water sprite, and Brazilian pennywort can also work well. These are not rhizome plants, so you can plant them directly into the substrate. Pennywort can also be used as a floating plant, and doesn’t necessarily need to be planted.


Thanks for the advice, do you recommend i start with a simple set then?
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:05 PM   #6
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It’s a good, easy place to start. You can always add higher lighting and CO2 later, if you would like to move to more demanding plants.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:23 PM   #7
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You can buy that Fluval light now, and run it at a lower setting if need be -- low tech to start. This opens the door for high light later on.

For substrate, Black Diamond brand blasting sand is the go to. It's inert sand, large enough not to be easily disturbed or sucked away with a siphon.

Pool filter sand if you want a lighter option.

Sand make planting so, so, so much easier, you can add root tabs if you want, and dose the water column.

More water changes help keep things in check. Less decoying organics in the tank = less algae, more stable water, happy livestock and fert levels + TDS + pH + gH + kH all balanced. Weekly 50% is what "most" recommend in my opinion.

If your water is really soft, you'll need to dose a gH booster (Ca and Mg). This is easy and inexpensive. Gypsum/plaster of Paris plus Epsom salts is all you need.

CO2 is really simple. You'll need a tank, regulator, solenoid + timer, bubble counter/flow meter and either a diffuser or a reactor. Aim for a 1.0 drop in pH from using CO2 and you're set. But, this can be easily incorporated later on when you are wanting more from your plants, or used right away if you want to best success.
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