Originally Posted by CodyL1121
OK, so yes, I am a little new to everything. But I'm doing loads and loads of research. I just have a couple things that are confusing me. I am thinking of moving up to a 29-39 gallon tank. As of now I have a 10g with fake plants. When I get my 29-39g tank, I want to set it up very nice with REAL plants. I am not understanding though some of it though. Here are my questions:
1.) how do I get the plants in the tank and be able to bury them?
2.) What do I bury the plants with and how often do I change the substrate?
2.) What will I need in order to balance everything, so it is perfect for my fish?
3.) How do I keep my tank clean with plants?
4.) Are there testers in my LFS so I can test my waters and will it come with something to tell me what is perfect water for my fish? How often do I test it?
Thanks for your help
hopefully I haven't been too annoying yet haha
1: Plant then as you would terrestrial plants, make a small hole in the substrate, put the plant in, and bury it. Some plants will take nutrients direct from the water column like stem plants, those will grow roots along the stem sometimes, thats normal
2: Plants will grow in most substrates. However, there are enriched substrates for plants such as florite, eco-compelte and ADA AS. These are clay based substrates that will slowly release nutrients to your plants but they charge a premium. If you choose to go with the common substrates, the finer the grain, the easier it will be to plant. Ultra-fine gravel is my personal favorite, its big enough to prevent compaction and small enough to hold plants in place
2: Balance will be achieved through trial and error. Plants will help absorb nitrates, ammonia, and take up heavy metals. However, this is dependent on plant types, bioload, and filtration capacity. Fertilization may be needed if you do not use an enriched substrate. Balance would be finding the correct dosage and following a fertilization schedule in those cases.
3: Plants will take in nutrients from your water, this keep nitrate levels low which keeps the water healthier and prevents algae. They also take in ammonia/ammonium which will help reduce the cycle time, with enough tanks, you wont even see a cycle
4: As Christople stated, the API test kits are the most commonly used kit, known for accuracy and will last a long time. Test strips should be avoided as they become inaccurate over time and are unreliable. There are other liquid test kits available, some from other reputable brands.
Hope that helps.