Overhauling questions (warning: lots of text)
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Overhauling questions (warning: lots of text)

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Overhauling questions (warning: lots of text)
Old 12-09-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
 
Overhauling questions (warning: lots of text)

Hey all,

I want to re-scape my 46g bowfront and I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a bunch of questions I have.

Moving Plants:
I have a lot of plants, one of which is a huge Amazon sword. When i move this plant, im sure there will be lots and lots of roots that I will have to deal with. Can I trim these roots to make it easier to plant? If so, how short?

Additionally, when I replant these plants, how close can I place them? I know for terrestrial plants, sometimes putting many together will cause some to choke out the others. I have a many dwarf chain swords I would like to plant in a lawn-like setup, but I do not know how close they can be before they start to run out of space. Is there a way to encourage restricted root growth to only certain areas of the tank naturally? (no artificial dividers)

Redoing Substrate:
I am certain my fluorite has given up MOST of its nutrients. I want to pull some out along with a lot of my old gravel, but I have no place to dispose of these. It seems like a bad idea to toss them into the trash or in the backyard, how do you get rid of unwanted gravel?

I also want to mix different types of gravel to create contrast. How do you keep the gravels from mixing? I am switching to soil so I wont be gravel vaccing, will just leaving it alone be ok? or will it eventually shift and have bigger gravel sink to the bottom? I will be having large gravel, pea sized gravel, sand, soil, and flourite.

How do you introduce plant tabs to soil substrates without causing the soil to mix with the layer above it? are there any techniques for doing this?

Arrangement:
Has anyone create under-substrate caves before using non-artificial means? I do not want to use glue or anything, but I want to create small caves so I can give shrimp places to hide from my fish.

I have 2 Bolivian rams, my tank is 3ft long but these two still have lots of issues with eachother, is there a good way to arrange plants to help them establish more defined territories and reduce aggression?

I want to keep some big background plants in the corners of my tank, will this hurt their growth? My amazon sword has grown big and strong in all directions and putting it in a corner would restrict its growth, will this hurt it? Should I trim it down and have it restart its growth as a smaller plant?

Currents:
How do currents affect plant growth? My filter pushes quite a bit of water, but there are lots of low flow zones in my tank. Will plants be ok in these areas?

Weight Distribution:
If the majority of the weight in a tank is placed towards one side, ie, most of the decoration is on the left side and the right side is left mostly empty, what risks are there to the tank failing? Or is it not an issue since water should even out the weight? Rocks are still heavier and denser than water and I have quite a few large rocks, will be be dangerous for the tank?


Sorry about the big post and flurry of questions. This was my first planted tank and its setup has not been changed for a few years now. Ive never had to rearrange a planted tank and im a bit of a worrywart when it comes to my tanks.

Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:59 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinCrisis View Post
how do you get rid of unwanted gravel?
The only unwanted gravel I've had so far is the gravel in the little plant pots I've bought. I just empty them onto the garden. If I changed the gravel in my tanks, I'd also put it on the garden. It was natural before they painted it and the paint is non-toxic to the fish so I figure that it shouldn't do anything to my plants either.
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SinCrisis (12-10-2010)
Old 12-09-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
 
IDK why you say your fluorite has expired... I'm not quite sure I read it right, but it sounded like you were vacuuming it? If so thats probably why it seems to not be working too well... anyway you can throw it if you want. There is really no reason too, but you certainly can if you don't want it anymore.

No tabs with soil substrate.

When pulling up the plants try to be kinda gentle. I don't recommend trimming roots. unless you use dividers your not going to be restricting root growth. Making sure layers don't mix is a challenge. All I can say is good luck, I've only layered soil and sand.

I would not recommend under substrate caves with a soil substrate.

Current should not be bothering the plants IMO.
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SinCrisis (12-10-2010)
Old 12-09-2010, 11:31 PM   #4
 
I vacuum my fluorite occasionally if i build up too much mulm, but its around 2 years old and i noticed that my plants dont grow as well without ferts anymore. I plan to keep some flourite, mixing it with soil as the base substrate to help keep the soil from compacting too much and to continue to use whatever nutrients are still in the flourite. for the top layer i want it to be mostly sand but i want some areas to be gravel of various sizes to create some surface contrast. The concept sounds wierd but i think it will work, im just worried about all my big gravel ending up under the soil and then I gotta get a new layer and then my substrate will be too thick, etc.

How do you replants a huge mess of roots? do you place it on the bare bottom and then layer substrate over it? Whenever i try to plant something with lots of roots parts of the roots end up above the gravel and it looks like i have tentacles attacking my plant >.<, but then when i adjust it, the plant gets loose and i gotta start over :-/
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:46 AM   #5
 
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I have a lot of plants, one of which is a huge Amazon Sword. When i move this plant, im sure there will be lots and lots of roots that I will have to deal with. Can I trim these roots to make it easier to plant? If so, how short?
Yes, you can trim them. Trim them to about 1-2 inches long.

Additionally, when I replant these plants, how close can I place them? I know for terrestrial plants, sometimes putting many together will cause some to choke out the others. I have a many dwarf chain swords I would like to plant in a lawn-like setup, but I do not know how close they can be before they start to run out of space. Is there a way to encourage restricted root growth to only certain areas of the tank naturally? (no artificial dividers)
Don't worry about planting them too close. I'd plant them about 1/2 inch apart- they'll spread and cramp themselves over time.

Redoing Substrate:
I am certain my fluorite has given up MOST of its nutrients. I want to pull some out along with a lot of my old gravel, but I have no place to dispose of these. It seems like a bad idea to toss them into the trash or in the backyard, how do you get rid of unwanted gravel?
Yea, just throw it in the yard. The flourite is probably not totally completed... A question- do you mean flourite or laterite?

I also want to mix different types of gravel to create contrast. How do you keep the gravels from mixing? I am switching to soil so I wont be gravel vaccing, will just leaving it alone be ok? or will it eventually shift and have bigger gravel sink to the bottom? I will be having large gravel, pea sized gravel, sand, soil, and flourite.It won't shift, but cories might shift it a little. Would still look nice, and maybe even a bit more natural if the edge was blurred. Color contrasts look better IMHO with sand, however.

How do you introduce plant tabs to soil substrates without causing the soil to mix with the layer above it? are there any techniques for doing this?
Soil contains all nutrients neccesary for growth. The soil will eventually get depleted, but by then you'll have ample bacteria to break down uneaten food, plant material, and fish waste, to feed your plants indefinitely.

Arrangement:
Has anyone create under-substrate caves before using non-artificial means? I do not want to use glue or anything, but I want to create small caves so I can give shrimp places to hide from my fish.
The natural way would be to have a large clump of guppy grass or moss. Personally, I build a little cave out of river rocks, and siliconed them together with aquarium silicone. Looks nice. I placed the cave next to a large rock, so it looks like there was a rockslide in the aquarium. :)

I have 2 Bolivian rams, my tank is 3ft long but these two still have lots of issues with eachother, is there a good way to arrange plants to help them establish more defined territories and reduce aggression?
You can plant large plants in the middle to block their line of sight. Just make sure you have tall wide-leaved plants. Of course, it may disrupt your line of sight too.
I want to keep some big background plants in the corners of my tank, will this hurt their growth? My Amazon Sword has grown big and strong in all directions and putting it in a corner would restrict its growth, will this hurt it? Should I trim it down and have it restart its growth as a smaller plant?
You can plant it about 2 inches (or more) from the corner. May have to prune some leaves off of one side to get it to stand up straight in the corner.
Currents:
How do currents affect plant growth? My filter pushes quite a bit of water, but there are lots of low flow zones in my tank. Will plants be ok in these areas?
If you can't lessen the flow, you can always direct the flow towards a side of the tank. Most plants should be fine, and large rooted plants and rocks can be used to create low flow zones.

Weight Distribution:
If the majority of the weight in a tank is placed towards one side, ie, most of the decoration is on the left side and the right side is left mostly empty, what risks are there to the tank failing? Or is it not an issue since water should even out the weight? Rocks are still heavier and denser than water and I have quite a few large rocks, will be be dangerous for the tank?
Shouldn't be a problem as long as the base is sturdy. Sit on a side of the aquarium stand and lean around to test it.


After reading Diana Walsteads ecology of the planted aquarium, do NOT add flourite or laterite to soil substrates. Those additives are meant to operate in the average aquarium and leach out their minerals slowly to the plant's roots. Unfortunately, in a soil tank FULL of fungi, bacteria,and other decomposition-helpers, they can break the bonds in the laterite and free up too much iron, risking toxicity. (Most soils are low in iron, but believe it or not, fish food has plenty of iron to satisfy a low tech aquaria.) I used kitty litter in one of my soil tanks, but I guess it was low enough in minerals that nothing became toxic. Of course, the paradox is that since it didn't kill me fish, there probably isn't hardly any nutrients in it anyway.

Last edited by redchigh; 12-10-2010 at 09:51 AM..
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #6
 
Thanks Redchigh!

I have flourite, not laterite, its quite old and i had wanted ~2:1 ration between soil and flourite. The surface substrate will be black sand and natural gravel, i wanted the natural gravel to accent certain areas such as around the base of my larger plants and to create a border between my background plants and foreground/midground plants (it would be black sand in front, pea or smaller size gravel as a border and eventualy turn to larger gravel. Its an experimental aquascape thing to see how it would look, if it looks terrible in mid-production, i would end up making it all sand.

I do not plan to keep cories, except for maybe dwarf cories, so I am not too worried about the sanding being moved. Blurring is a good idea, i may try and create the blurring effect to ease the transition between the sand and gravel.

I want to avoid using anything artificial in the tank except where the seams of the tank are held together of course. Ive experimented with siliconing rocks together but it just turned out to look kinda funny and out of place.

For the flow zones, i wanted to place my heavy root feeders there since, at least to my understanding, they need less current, whereas my stem plants like anachris need more current to feed their roots. BUt i was not sure if my understanding is correct so, i dont want to end up starving my swords or damanging my anarchis cuz of flow.

AS for weight, i trust my stand. What i dont trust is the glass and the glass bonds. I afraid of it cracking or the bonds loosening under too much pressure. 46 gallons of water on my floor would make a very very sad SinCrisis.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:10 PM   #7
 
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Well weight on the bottom glass is actually transferred to the base the tank is on, so no worries.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
 
but theres a gap between the bottom of the glass and the actual surface of the stand isnt there? The plastic frame suspends the glass a little bit above the stand surface doesnt it?
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:36 PM   #9
 
Another question. I am planning to do the change this weekend, however, I think it will be a 2 day process. Will my fish survive 48 hrs in a 3-4g bucket? I have 6 pristellas, 3 black skirt tetras, 2 bolivian rams.
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