There is a distinct difference between a planted tank and a tank with plants. A planted tank is heavily planted and the layout and equipment (CO2
, filtration, lighting, substrate) are all chosen with the plants needs in mind. UGF
's are not a good fit for a planted tank. I've outlined some of the reasons why I believe this to be so on this webpage.
That being said...it is absolutely positively possible to combined a few healthy thriving plants with a UGF
in a fish tank. For years I did this too. However, once a person desires to have more emphasis on growing plants and want's to attempt a planted tank then the UGF
must be abandonded.
, using a UGF
with plants is only successful for long periods of time if you follow these guidelines.
1. Limit the amount of light and thereby avoid CO2
supplementation. Stick close to one watt per gallon as a rough rule of thumb.
2. Choose plants that are low light and that don't require substrate rooting. Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, and low light tolerant stem plants. Avoid swords, cryptocoryne, and other rooted plants.
3. vacuum the gravel thoroughly and often. This advice flies in the face of a planted tank where you never vacuum the substrate. But, with a UGF
you want to discourage it becoming a mechanical filter and trapping and keeping solid debris.
4. Fertilize rarely and only via the water column, never add solid fertilizer to the UGF
Try your hand at growing plants well with the UGF
. If you find you have developed a "wet thumb" you can always start a new tank with planted tank specific equipment or remove the UGF
from your current tank.