Advice on planting tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-21-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
pretzelsz's Avatar
Arrow Advice on planting tank

I'M BACK(with new attitude),
Been a LONG time since I was last on here and alot has happened to my tank. I moved north bringing my tank with me. In the process my vals died and my swordplant is biting the dust as well as the algae taking over my java. So what I am left with in my tank is alot of detritus and sand(only one plastic plant ew). I feel my fish are stressed and plan on going to pick up a good amount of live plants monday. I do need some help though,

I want to know if I need a CO2 system for a planted tank since I didn't have one before it worked but I plan on having more this time. If i do need one how can I do a cheap DIY?

I have some normal sand and gravel mix in my tank at the moment, do i need a special substrate?(I regret the sand decision lol)

Also due to my lack of enthusiasm for awhile my light hours created an algae problem so I am going to be performing a 48 blackout to kill it as to not take over my plants again.

Any help you can give me to help my fish is greatly appreciated as they really hate me right now lol


When life gives you lemons make some OJ
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-22-2012, 04:13 PM
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Just started CO2 a few weeks ago. The short answer is you do NOT need CO2 to have a very nice planted tank with low or low-medium light. My 55, 10, and 40 gallon planted tanks did very well for a year or so without CO2. The only time I ever had problem was when I tried to increase the light duration or intensity. If I kept it in balance, it was easy to maintain. I also used Flourish Excel in one of my tanks and it wasn't too expensive and worked well also for most plants.

I wanted better color on some picky plants and to try some higher-light plants, so I decided to try CO2. I was also fortunate to need CO2 for a lab setup at work (university) so the unit is not actually mine, but I get to play with it till summer for the cost of CO2 only!

DIY CO2 seems to work well for folks here, but from my readings it works best on smaller tanks.
No special substrate needed, but you may need substrate fertilizer tablets and water-column fertilizer for best results.

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-22-2012, 05:43 PM
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it might be worth your time to use a commercial algae killer in your tank... if the plants arent doing so hot to begin with a blackout might do them in. It seems to me controlling the algae is going to be the ticket.

theres a million and one co2 DIY threads and sites across the web, but I never saw the benefits. I keep my plant selections to low-moderate requirements and I get a nice, slow, even grow for the plants that have adapted well. id say about 60% do beautifully with just lights. 80% if id stop being lazy and make the drive to get more liquid ferts :)

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-22-2012, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I only have one plant left and it is basically dead so I am starting fresh and scrub down the tank. I am going to just get my tank cleaned then put in whatever plants I get at the store tomorrow. Thanks for the advice I guess I'll just pick some fert tabs at the store along with some gravel because I just have a weird mix of sand, river pebbles and rainbow gravel at the moment.

I also have a question on making an outdoor pond here Making a pond if anyone can help me out with that


When life gives you lemons make some OJ
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-22-2012, 07:36 PM
if you are going for planted then i would suggest fine gravel or sand or somehting like ecocomplete or stuff lik fluval strattum something made for plants! then good light depending on the bulb you have you may need up to 2 watt per gallon but 1 for one with t8 works fine. light and gravel is whats the most important then after ferts and managing your light time etc find a good ballance for me its 8 hours of light in a heavy plantes 26 g that has 2x24w t5 one 10 000 k and a 6700 life glo I also have playsand as gravel with root tabs and use flourish comprehensive once a week at half the dose they indicate!
gravel type and light is most important!
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-22-2012, 08:32 PM
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Yes, now is the time to change the substrate. A mix of gravel and sand does not really work, as you seem tohave fouond out. Sand alone is fine, I have 4 tanks with playsand. Or fine gravel. Dark, no white sand or gravel. Enriched substrates are an option, more expensive; and if you intend substrate fish then some of these are not so good as they are sharp to the fish.

And welcome back.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-23-2012, 11:13 AM
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Just as a side note, about 2 or 3 years ago I set up a 20 long and a 10g with the planting substrate from I had previously tried 2 others a long time prior, and had the same problem every time. The substrate was awesome, and most any plant just grew that much better, however anytime the substrate is disturbed, it makes a brown cloud like woah in the water. I only have 1 tank left with the stuff, as everything else went to gravel.

Now when I vacuum the gravel, I just get the surface and dont press into the gravel. So far so good!

Ive never tried sand, but I hate substrates that are a headache. Im just saying ive done quite well with gravel, and its easy to maintain :)

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-23-2012, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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So I got some plants today along with 6 neon tetras my little brother was asking for. They didnt have fert tabs so i got liquid fert. Everything is in the tank(although I forgot to get gravel but will probably end up changing tanks soon anyway).
Once the plants grow enough that I can take some out I am planning on making my bettas tank into a planted shrimp tank too. If I can find a camera I'll post pics and thanks for the help they all seem better now that there are places to hide.


When life gives you lemons make some OJ
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