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Old 01-28-2009, 04:54 PM   #1
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Question on plants and type of aquarium

I am very new to this hobby and have not yet bought my aquarium. I was wondering what you would recommend for a newbie, real plants or artificial plants. I like the look of real plants but I don't know if I have the experience to keep those alive while I'm going through other newbie issues like keeping my fish alive. Any thoughts? Also, I'm thinking about buying this aquarium, is this a good idea?
http://www.tetra-fish.com/sites/tetrafish/catalog/productdetail.aspx?id=1276&cid=3120
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA. My vote is live plants. I think they look better (at least more natural), and are at least half the fun of the hobby. I started as a newbie to the aquarium hobby about 3 months ago, and am already on to my second planted tank.


If you do choose live plants, just make sure you do your homework on the plants before buying -- you can find many plants that will survive in an extremely low tech setup... i.e. little to no fertilization, low light levels etc. If you decide you like that part of the hobby, you can always expand, and invest in equipment down the road that will allow you to grow some more demanding plants. Beware as well - places like petsmart and other large chain stores will attempt to sell you plants that won't work for your setup, or even attempt to sell you plants that are marketed as "AQUATIC" but they are in fact not suited for submerged growth.

When in doubt, (and sometimes even when not in doubt ) ask here on the AA forum. The folks here have really helped me gain a good understanding of the hobby, and have saved me much time, money, and frustration.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:45 PM   #3
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Thank you for your advice. I think you've got me convinced to go for live plants.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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i vote live too. i hate the artificial look of aquarium stuff. plus live plants remove nitrates from the water, to complete the cycle.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:09 PM   #5
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Good adivce Fort

When buying an aquarium, always get the most water you can. Bigger is truly better when it comes to new owners. Good for you, your researching before you buy. Please take a moment and read up on fishless cycles.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #6
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My tank is a 10G, with 5 zebra Danios and two large Danios. Went with plastic first, for ease of care. Once the tank was up and running, looked for additional items. Added some low light plants, like Anubias Wendtii and java Fern. Now I am upgrading the lights from incandescent to flourescent to be better off on the plants.
Choose a substrate, and put in plastic for day one if this is your first tank. Add plants second when you have time to look into the light requirements. Aquarium gravel is in the bottom of my tank, not the best choice in hindsight. The next tank will have something different I think.
There is too much to learn on this site, when all I really wanted was to have a happy fish. Now multiple tank syndrome (MTS) is setting in.
Tank, substrate, filter and test kit to get a cycle started. During the process of cycling which may be a month or more, figure out fish, plants, lights, and the diver dude.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:19 AM   #7
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Quick question regarding live plants. At what point in the fishless cycle do I add them?
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:37 AM   #8
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You can add them almost immediately. The ammonia during the cycle will not hurt the plants. In fact, when I was cycling my second tank (I too contracted MTS ), one of the most knowledgeable forum members on here referred to it as "yellow gold" for my plants. And I must say, he is right. The plants that are in the tank are growing like crazy, despite the high ammonia readings.

Middlechild makes some valid points, but I think there are some very low maintenance plants you could start off with as a newbie. Just do your homework - although regular aquarium gravel will suffice for growing aquatic plants, there are some much better alternatives out there that would give you a leg up from the get-go if you decide to go with live plants. He mentioned lighting too, and that is important. Most stock hoods come with lights that are barely sufficient (if even) to grow only the lowest light requiring plants.

Again, look around, read some of the threads on this forum (and the FW planted forum), and check out some of the tanks people have started (most of the members have some photos of their tanks, lots of times they have links to them in their signature blocks like mine on the bottom here). The fact that you are here early means you will have a massive advantage over the people that just pick up a bunch of fish stuff and try to do this without any prior knowledge (like I did!)

Again, I have to caution you too - be leary of advice received at some of the larger chain type pet stores and even some smaller LFS (local fish stores). Many times, their objective is to sell you as much as they can, or in some cases, they just don't know enough about the items they are selling. Ask here... someone has experienced what you are inquiring about, and can give you the no-money-involved truth.

Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of the great information, Fort. I will definitely put it to good use.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:26 PM   #10
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Just an update, my tank had two incandescent light bulbs. I bought two new ones thinking the old being six months or more old were wearing out. The plants were not showing much or even little growth. Changed one this past weekend to a compact fluorescent and the new light has made a difference. My Anubis sprouted two leaves this week! Remarkable! (Actually just what I have read on this forum, but was unable to implement until now.)
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:34 PM   #11
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FishStarter89 a great way to start on some nice plants are the bulbs you buy at wall mart or any chain store. they grow really easy and are inexpensive. thats how i first started.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrystarstarr View Post
FishStarter89 a great way to start on some nice plants are the bulbs you buy at wall mart or any chain store. they grow really easy and are inexpensive. thats how i first started.
Really? i have never had any luck w them at all. i've only had a few sprouts that fall off, most of them float too and i cant keep them in the substrate.
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