my first planted tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-15-2008, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
beetlebz's Avatar
my first planted tank

I am going to the LFS today to get myself some new substrate and some plants to start slowly moving my 10 gallon female betta tank to a planted tank.

I have a series of questions so please bear with me.. id like to thank everyone in advance for helping me out here :)

1) It would seem that eco complete is the best substrate for planting. do I need to mix it with gravel? or rather CAN I mix it with gravel so I can keep my black substrate? the eco complete is dark enough I was just wondering.

2) at such an early stage is stuff like fertilizer and co2 necessary?

3) is it possible to mix in the new substrate to the tank without removing the fish? or would it be smarter to move them for a bucket for a couple hours just in case?

4) is there a good way to tell at the LFS which plants are strictly for underwater use and which are amphibious?

5) are there any plants that are easy to keep small while still growing full? I want a lush green tank without having to trim it every few days

6)anything I forgot? :)

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-15-2008, 02:17 PM
Let's address your post on comment at a time.

1) EcoComplete is meant to be used by itself. It is darker and should give you a nice dark substrate. I know of no one who has mixed it with gravel. I do have tanksthat have either florite or laterite mixed with gravel. Just make sure that you have sufficient depth to support your plants. A depth of 2 1/2"-3" should do the trick.

2) Ferts are always good. I would recommend liquid ferts in a small tank like a 10g. I am using Pfertz in many of my smaller planted tanks and love it. But, as with all convenience items, the price is a little higher than dry ferts. But you do not have to worry about over-dosing. They are very user friendly. The squirt bottles are just the ticket. No measuring, no fuss, no muss.

CO2 should not be needed. You may want to invest in it as you delve deeper into plant care. There are many "low tech" setups flourishing in the hobby. Investing in a good CO2 delivery system could cost hundreds of dollars. Lighting, water conditions, and feeding are the primary things to worry about right now.

3) Remove the fish. Just less stress on them. Make sure to rinse your new gravel thoroughly before dumping it in your tank.

4) Not really.

5) Cryptocorynes are nice, compact and rather small plants. As are some dwarf swords. You may also want to try floating elodea in the tank. It will help to calm your betta and provide an anchor for his bubble nest.

6) Sounds like we covered most of the basics.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-16-2008, 11:44 AM
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I have a question to go along with the plants. How do you clean the tank (vacuum) if there are plants in it? Do you even need to? I have never had plants in my aquarium and have only had an aquarium for three months. Just curious, thanks
albinowife is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 03-16-2008, 12:47 PM
You vac the tank gently. I have a smaller pickup tube on a python that I use to clean between the plants. I did have to modify the python.

I also use, and advocate, reverse flow filtration in my plant tanks. The reverse flow keeps much debris from the bottom of the tank.

The addition of shrimp has also been an asset to keeping the tank bottom clean. Having bottom dwelling "janitors" , cories, shrimp, ect. is also a good idea.

Deter from frequent "gravel sweeps" and "stirs". This practice disturbs the roots, sometimes damaging them, and may put the plants into, what I call, "root shock".
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-21-2008, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
beetlebz's Avatar
welp... according to the LFS elodea is illegal to sell in the state of connecticut lol figures

now the big question (dun dun duuuunnnn) I decided to just plant into the gravel on the suggestion of a friend and while the 29g is still looking great, the 10g plants are looking sad. SO... i figure theyre both going to get eco complete or something close to it. One bag should do my 10 gallon tank, but how many $20 bags of eco complete will it take to fill my 29g? and are there good alternatives?

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-21-2008, 03:52 PM
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I think one bag of eco-complete is about 500 cu. I've also heard really good things about's own substrate. It's $44 with free shipping for a bucket equivalent to 6 bags of eco-complete. I think that would be enough to do both of your tanks?
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-22-2008, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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I just ordered the bucket from I figure when I take the fish out of my 29g to send to whoever (let me know folks) and the rest to go in my 110g, im going to take the remaining fish out into buckets, and swap over the gravel completely to the new substrate.

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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