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Old 10-06-2005, 06:02 PM   #1
Yao
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to plant or not to plant

I just started a fish tank a few weeks ago and I'm debating on adding some plants in the next few weeks. I have three angels, three gouramis and three corycats. Does planting a tank take a lot of work to start and maintain? Would it be a good idea for me to invest time and money on this as a beginner and casual hobby?
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Old 10-06-2005, 06:29 PM   #2
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I've always had planted tamks from the beginning. They just look so much better and more tranquilizing.

Plants will produce oxygen, take nutrients out of the water (which algae will do otherwise) and the fish feel a whole lot better in a densely planted aquarium, too.

If you have a low to medium (1-2watts per gallon - wpg) light tank, you don't have to do much work for the plants. They will need some kind of substrate fertilizer (e.g. pure laterite or seachem flourish tabs) and maybe some seachem flourish (liquid for the leaves to absorb). They would definitely profit from some CO2 but don't need it to grow. Be careful though, to pick plants that can grow in low to medium light conditions.

Here are a few sites with plant info:
www.tropica.com
www.plantgeek.net (plantlists with good pictures)

You could buy live plants at www.aquabid.com or www.aquariumplants.com for example. The latter is a very good online store with great quality, good prices and super customer service.
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Old 10-06-2005, 06:41 PM   #3
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I got into planted tanks almost a year ago. It's a decision that I'm glad I made - my tanks look so much better, the fish are happier, and the water parameters are more stable. I decided to start simple and stick with low-light plants (1 - 2 watts per gallon) like Java moss, Java fern, swords, and anubias. These plants don't grow particularly fast under low-light conditions, but they are difficult to kill unless you have plant-eating fish.

The biggest cost involved with planted tanks is usually the lighting.
What size tank do you have, and what kind of lighting did it come with?
Is it incandescent or fluorescent?
How many bulbs, and how many watts each?

I replaced my 36 inch 2 X 15W fluorescent with a 36 inch 3 X 25W fixture - cost about $80. (Plus the electric bill for running 75W, 7 hours a day, every single day. ) All of my tanks, (except quarrantine), are low-light planted (1 - 1.5 WPG).

The extra work involved? Well, I spend a little more time each month scraping the green spot algae off the glass, and I have to prune once in a while. Gravel vacs are slightly more time consuming because I have to work around the plants. That's basically it.

Someday, I hope to set up a high-light planted tank with CO2 injection, but that will cost money that I just don't have right now.
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Old 10-07-2005, 05:09 AM   #4
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Can i ask why you spend more time scraping algae off the glass? does having plants increase this? Juct curious


EDIT
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Oh forgot to say... yes i would def get some plants, low light plants are easy to keep, i've got some lace java fern in my tiger barb tank with no expensive lighting, the standard fixture that cam with it, just swapped the tube for a plant grow one. It's doing great, really bushy now. And i think my mate who used to have the tank grew vals in there with no problems either...
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Old 10-07-2005, 05:50 AM   #5
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the plants will actually use up the nutrients that the algae needs. every since i starting using plants, i've had almost no algae in all of my tanks(medium/heavy density).
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Old 10-07-2005, 07:10 AM   #6
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Definitly go planted. It looks a LOT better then those crappy plastic plants and the fish look and feel better the more their tank looks like a/their natural environment. I have 3 planted tanks <2 wpg with lots of plants and driftwood and haven't lost any fish in about a year (except for the stupid ghost shrimp that die or go up to my raphael and be like "hey what's that big black thing with white spots coming at me?" and then they're gone.... :P )
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Old 10-07-2005, 09:54 AM   #7
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The increased lighting in planted tanks causes more green spot algae on the glass walls Chrism.
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Old 10-07-2005, 01:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felf
the plants will actually use up the nutrients that the algae needs. every since i starting using plants, i've had almost no algae in all of my tanks(medium/heavy density).
Correct... in general terms. If you have an imbalance somewhere, however, algae can coexist easily with your planted tank. It just take too much/too little of one trace element. I'm currently trying to find that problem myself.

To answer the post though, yes. I would plant.

EDIT
By the way, is your tank cycled?
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