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Old 28-02-2008, 04:41 PM
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Default Basic guide to planted tanks

Substrates

Substrates are not as complicated as you might think. There are two options - complete substrates and base layer substrates.

Complete ones include eco-complete and ADA aquasoil. These you dont put cover (cap) it with anything, it's 100% planted substrate. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

There are far more base layer substrate to chose from, but they all work the same. You put a layer of plant substrate on the base of the tank and then cap it with another substrate, like sand or gravel. Don't worry too much about what you cap the plant substrate with, just get want you like the look of. The plants wouldn't really care, all they want is the nutrients from the plant substrate below.

Plants take in nutrients from the water before taking it in from the substrate, so this means that if you dose your water with ferts, your substrate will last longer. If you never dose with ferts, your substrate will be being drained by your plants, and will soon be no more then just mud.


CO2

CO2 is Carbon Dioxide. To maintain a heavily planted tank with lush growth with little or no algae then CO2 is essential.

Under low light conditions, (under 2WPG) there is normally enough CO2 already in the wter for the plant to grow. If the light levels are increased to over 2 WPG then the plants will grow well for a little hilw until they use up all the CO2 that is already in the water. After this, CO2 will become a limiting factor in photosynthesis and therefore plant growth will slow down, and you will then be ruthlessly attacked by algae. Therefore if the lighting is over 1.9 WPG then it is advisable to go down the CO2 route.

There are a number of ways of adding CO2 into your aquarium:

Fermentation:
This is where you use yeast, sugar and water in a container, with tubing leading into your aquarium. This ferments and prduces CO2. The CO2 goes through the tubing that is normally attached to a diffuser within the tank. The CO2 must be diffused into the water, it can't be allowed to escape from the tube directly into the water otherwise the CO2 will just rise to the suface and escape into the air. The best way of diffusing CO2 is with a CO2 diffuser or a ladder. You can either do a DIY fermentation set using an old plastic drink bottle (e.g a coke bottle). There are pages and pages on how to do this on the internet so I wont write it up here. Alternatively you can use a manufactured fermentation system which work the same but are easier to set up and come complete with an effective diffuser, e.g. a Nutrafin Natural Plant System.
Advantages: Cheap, ideal for smaller tanks, easy to set up, little chance of overdosing CO2.
Disadvantages: Unstable CO2 levels, not ideal for large tanks.


Pressureised:
A more expensive method is pressurized. A CO2 filled metal refillable or plastic disposable cylinder is connected to a pressure regulator. This brings down the pressure to usable levels and can be adjusted to achieve the desired flow rate using a needle valve. The CO2 hose is usually connected to a safety check-valve, then possibly to a bubble counter. The CO2 flows finally to a diffuser or reactor. Although initially expensive, these will provide a constant CO2 flow for many months (depending on tank size etc.) They can also be fitted with a night-time shut-off solenoid that is connected to the lights thus saving CO2.

Advantages: Very stable CO2 levels. Low maininence.
Disdvantages: Very expensive to start up, it is possible to overdose CO2.

So, now you have your tank up and sorted, and you want some nice, easy plants to start off with?

Foreground plants

java moss
Christmas moss
Willow moss
Flame moss
Cryptocorynes wendtii
Cryptocorynes lucens
Small Anubia
Four leaf clover
Pogostemon Helferi

Midground

Nymphaea species (train them not to grow surface pads, otherwise they are a background plant)
Java fern
Larger Anubia
Larger crypts such as becketii, wendtii etc.
All vallis
Ludwigia repens/rubin
hydrocotyle leucocephala
Cabomba

Background plants

Most hygrophile species
Rotala rotundifolia
Egeria densa
Elodea densa
Nymphaea species
Amazon swords
Bacopa species
Alternantera reineckii (with CO2)
Vallisneria
Hygrophila Salicifolia
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Old 29-02-2008, 09:26 AM
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My tank hz been runin 4 a while nw, so obviously i crnt pt any substrates in, or cn i?
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Old 29-02-2008, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boothy View Post
My tank hz been runin 4 a while nw, so obviously i crnt pt any substrates in, or cn i?
you can just take all the fish out, put them in a huge bucket with the heater and filter, and then change the substrate. Takes quite a while and is very messy, not really worth it unless at least 80% of your tank is planted.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:40 PM
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Cool, i have a simple 10 gallon tank with a few danios, small loach and a betta. The tank is like artificial. I have plastic plants and castles and that from a pet store. The only natural thing about it is the live sand. I want to make a natural set-up. So should i keep the sand and just get some live plants/moss ect and a few peices of driftwood and it'll be fine or do i need different lighting filteration ect?. Any help is appreciated!.
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:43 PM
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A few details of your tank such as amount of lighting and type of filter will be helpful.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:06 PM
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The filter is a Elite stingray, lighting is just normal fish bulb from the pet store, not sure if it is UVA/UVB?

**EDIT**

Sorry, miss read your reply. About 8-10 hours a day for lighting!.
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Last edited by _jake_; 03-07-2008 at 08:14 PM..
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:50 PM
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Aye, you can easily do a planted tank with just a normal bulb.

get some pieces of bogwood and you can attach these plants to it:

anubias
java fern (there's a few varieties, like java fern "windelov")
java moss

these are pretty much indestructible haha.

then you can gat some vallis for the back, and some pygmy chan sword to crate a carpet at the front of the tank.

for some colour you can whack a tiger lilly in there, to.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:09 PM
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Thanks Esfa, I'm looking forward to re do the tank. My mum (mom) hates about how many animals i have and if i go " mum, can i get some more fish?" she's like NO!. So I'm going to have to work on her to do this!. But my mum wouldn't buy me things for the tank her saying is, my pet your responsibility and i've got to buy the food and that on paper boy wages!!!!. Whats a good (cheap) way of doing this?
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:14 PM
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a cheap way would be to use rocks instead of wood. you can collect rocks from outside... just make sure you drop some vinegar on them first. if they fizz, they're not suitable to put into your tank. dont forget to wash them really well!
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:41 PM
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Cheers, so vinegar fizzy = not suitable, gotch ya!.
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