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Old 07-26-2006, 03:02 AM   #1
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1-10, most important part of the planted aquarium

What do you think is the most important aspect of a planted tank for success? Lighting? Substrate? Fertilizers maybe? CO2? Also post why you thikn it is so important.

My most important, CO2. I tried better lighting, fertilizers, and nothing worked better for me to get descent growth from most plants than DIY CO2. Simply put, any amount you can add will help and not having it will hurt. Low ligh to high light, DIY or pressurized, if you can out it in the tank, IMO, Do it!
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:26 AM   #2
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hi,

Id agree with co2 being a main component simply because the plants in the natural environment have a great advantage over tanks. Since rivers have a lot more surface area the co2 and oxygen exchange in the water is much greater than a home aquarium.

However large amounts of co2 with unbalanced nutrients & lighting can cause algae problems.

So really what ever set up you have you should adapt it for optimum growth, or go buy some new equipment IMO
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:12 AM   #3
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Lighting.

Light drives photosynthesis. without sufficient light, CO2, fertilizing, substrate...all are meaningless.

Of course, that's the simple answer to a complex question, since once you have 'enough' light, CO2 (which is really a macro nutrient), fertilizing and to some degree substrate all become substantially more important.
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:56 AM   #4
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I'm not really experienced enough yet to state facts,but here is my humble opinion based on my limited experience.
1-C02 has the most effect and I believe is the # 1 factor in having a thriving, algea free planted tank, regardless of substrate, lighting or otherwise.
2-lighting, 2 to 3 wpg will grow most anything, but the tank sure looks pretty with 4+wpg! Be ready to check and ajust your fert levels alot if you choose to go with more than 3 wpg, at least till you gauge the speed of your tank. I ran 6wpg once 3 weeks, crazy experience, ultimately ending in some toasted plants and a blackout! Learned a ton though! I have a tank with less than 1wpg and it is thriving. C02 is the reason, sure ain't light, ferts or substrate.
3- Balanced ferts. Learning to do this was and still is the hardest part to get down for me, but is crucial if you want to run at higher light levels.
4- Substrate. High quality substrate like Eco or ADA aquasoil is better, but not totally neccisary. Depends what you are trying to grow. I'm growing some pretty nice Crypts and ferns in the worst soil you can get. On purpose. HC will not grow in it at all, needs a finer substrate. I have pulled plants in my tanks with crappy substrate just to check on the root growth, it is way thinner and weaker than roots in my tanks with Eco complete. Strong roots, healthier plants. Plants will grow in poor gravel, but I believe quality substrate is better for the long term health of your plants.
All of the above is only my humble opion, please take it as just that!
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:06 PM   #5
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I was working on my post as Malkore posted his, didn't see it till after. Very good point, without light you've got nothing.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:16 PM   #6
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I would contend that there is not one most important factor. Light, Nutrients, and Carbon Dioxide are all required for a plant to thrive and therefore out of those three, one is not more important than the other. Other factors could be things such as substrate type (sand vs. gravel), types of nutrients needed, how much light, etc.

Its like saying, whats more important to humans... Food, Water, or Air. While you may be able to live longer without one than you would without another, you would still die eventually.
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Old 07-26-2006, 01:39 PM   #7
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Looking back at past experiences. I had a small tank with the lights that came with it (about 1/2 watt per gallon). I tried many plants..... they all died. Then came AA and some knowledge. I now believe that if that same tank had some taller stem plants I think they would have lived, not thrived , but lived.

Long answer, but LIGHT, I believe you can have good success with medium light and no co2
with many plants.
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:20 PM   #8
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i am gonna have to say co2 but only if u have light lol. what i mean is that i had a low light (15 watts on a 20 gal) and no co2 and the plants grew.... but not alot. so i doubled the light... and they grew a little more but not alot. so i took off the second light and added co2 instead and the plants exploded with growth in 2 weeks i had more growth than the 2 months i had the second light on the tank. it has been proven that a low light tank with co2 actually benifits more than a high light tank with co2. and again i fully understand that all 3 basic components are useless without each other, but co2 benifits the tank the most as long as u have the other 2 at least there. as important as light is if i had to choose i would take low light with co2 over high light wothout it. co2 is like steroids for plants
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: 1-10, most important part of the planted aquarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by fish_4_all
What do you think is the most important aspect of a planted tank for success?
Balance! (I know its a cop-out )

If anything (light, CO2, or Ferts - including substrate) is out of balance, you will have big problems.

With that being said, I think insufficient light has killed more plants than anything else.
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:34 PM   #10
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my 2cents on the subject

1. Understand what plants need. Know at least a little about ferts, light, water chemistry, substrate, plant biology. Knowing a little about each of these subjects lets you disregard most of the bad advice and misinformation that is out there.

2. Have a goal for your tank. Is it "look pretty in my room", is it "Grow and sell plants to offset the cost of the hobby", or is it maybe "have live plants to increase the health of my fish". This will determine what kind of planted tank you want.... and leads to number 3

3. Choosing a style of growing, High/Low tech, High/Low light, High/Low maintenance, High/Low Cost etc. Usually these are divided along a couple lines High-Tech tanks (EI etc)and Natural style tanks.

4 From there you can go High, Medium or Low light.

5 Which will determine fertilizor uptake. At low uptake, PWC's, fish waste, and "available" carbon are adequate. At high uptake you may need EI, dose routine, CO2 injection, special substrate etc. (all aspects of "fertilizor")

6 choose plants to match your conditions

7 choose fish to match your tank goals

8 Maintain balance by sticking to your maintenance and sticking to your goal

9 Observe your tank, and make small improvements, and small changes

10 enjoy the results
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:09 PM   #11
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that was wells said zezmo. that was also something i meant to get across. this question is based on alll planted tanks which doesnt really work so well since all planted tanks have different plants. if we were talking about a specific tank and what is the most benificial i am sure almost all our answers would be the same. i said about co2 helping more than light. this was based on plants that fit into my light category. i dont care how much light u have certain plants just simply need co2 to grow. compared to the plants in my 20 gal that grew like crazy with lots of co2 but little light. if we choose individual plants to compare then this would be a more accurate comparison. a plant like h.cuba will grow with intense light at 4WPG but it wont really show its full potential untill you get lots of co2 in the tank. make sense?
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Old 07-26-2006, 09:03 PM   #12
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Well the purpose was supposed to be to get individual opinions about why they thought one thing was the major reason why they were able to grow plants in "their" tank. I know that there is absolutely no way that I can even consider upgrading everything at one time in order to grow plants. With all the advice that I have found out there, I just thought it would be a nice thing for someone to be able to look at this and say, wow I have light at low levels, I have a few low light plants, if I get some DIY CO2 going, maybe I can get some descent growth. Not having a person go and look here and say well there is no way I can consider plants and I shouldn't have gotten them because I have to have all this stuff to grow plants and if I don't have "All" these things just perfect then I will have more problems that a planted aquarium is worth. Or maybe someone could say, well DIY CO2 is really inexpensive, I have my fertilizers, maybe I can afford to find better lighting and grow some other plants rather than just java fern and anacharis. Or maybe someone has a tank all set up and rearing to go, gravel substrate, a good variety of plants growing and wants to see what might be their next step, which would probably be Eco Complete.

Let's just give some of the information they need to go from what they have and can afford to do. It took me 4 months on here to finally get enough information that I could actually do "something" to help me grow plants instead of having to drop half a college fund just to get going.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:39 AM   #13
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Malkore is dead on. Light -> CO2 -> NO3 -> PO4 -> K -> Micronutrients, in that order. Without light plants die. Given light, plants begin uptake of nutrients. CO2 provides the carbon and oxygen (read, organics) that are the basis of their structure. With enough carbon and oxygen plants can photosynthesize and uptake nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other essential macronutrients. Micronutrients (like iron, boron, and others) are also required. Start at the top of the list when you believe you have issues and work your way down. It has always worked for me
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