filtration and plants - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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filtration and plants

being new to this hobby I have many questions. I want live plants. My neighbor says to have an undergravel filter and I won't have to clean or change the tank for years. The plants will do great. He claims his has been up for years and I think it looks great. Full of large plants doing well. I have a canister filter on my 4-5 week old aquarium a couple of plants looking poorly no undergravel filter. I don't know which way to turn. I really need help. My neighbor claims to have been doing this for 20 years or more. Is he right? Please help!
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 08:50 AM
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What size tank is this? What kind of lights do you have (Looking for specifics here such as T8 T5s or leds.) What kind of kelvin rating do they have? How long are they on for? Do you use fertilizers? What fish do you have? His many? Are you running an air stone?

If you already have a canister there is no point changing it out for something else. You can have lush looking plants with a canister. We just need more info to help ya out.

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post #3 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 08:52 AM
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Also what plants do you have now?

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post #4 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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20 gallon high, a plant type fluorescent tube,don't know what a kelvin rating is, fertilizers? didn't know I should? 7 tetras. lites are on for about 10-12 hours no airstone. I don't know all the plants the guy at the Aquarium adventure store picked them out
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 10:09 AM
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Can you take a picture of the tank and plants?

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 10:22 AM
undergravel filters shouldnt be used in planted aquariums. the roots tend to get in there and clog it. id go with a canister filter. you should dose with a plant food for aquariums once a week and depending on the plants be using root tabs. and your plants will love you!
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 10:47 AM
Yes, you should dose with Flourish Comprehensive (http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-513-Flourish-500ml/dp/B00025696M), weekly, it doesn't need much. It's a liquid fertilizer, and if you have plants like crypts, swords, heavy root feeders, you should use root tabs, right now I'm using Flourish now, and people also use API. (here's flourish: http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-Flourish-Tabs-10-Count/dp/B000255QLG/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1377186003&sr=1-1&keywords=flourish+root+tabs) (And API: http://www.amazon.com/API-Root-Tabs-10-Count/dp/B003OYMOWQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1377186360&sr=1-1&keywords=api+root+tabs)
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 10:59 AM
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I have heard undergravel filters are no nos for plants but your friend could be correct.

FWIW I initially tried just a few plants in a normal setup years ago with almost no results.

But when I used a peat moss/sand substrate and lotsa plants with no filters and no water changes everything changed for the better.

I let the plants condition the tank for a week then added fish slowly.

the plants really took off and 8 years later I had descendants from the original cycle fish which were red wag platties.

So I basically stuck with that method over the decades.

I think what happened is I reached a point where the plants and nothing else conditioned the tank. And as a result both the fish and plants thrived.

I also found out the less I do the better the tank is.

my .02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
I have heard undergravel filters are no nos for plants but your friend could be correct.

FWIW I initially tried just a few plants in a normal setup years ago with almost no results.

But when I used a peat moss/sand substrate and lotsa plants with no filters and no water changes everything changed for the better.

I let the plants condition the tank for a week then added fish slowly.

the plants really took off and 8 years later I had descendants from the original cycle fish which were red wag platties.

So I basically stuck with that method over the decades.

I think what happened is I reached a point where the plants and nothing else conditioned the tank. And as a result both the fish and plants thrived.

I also found out the less I do the better the tank is.

my .02

This. People are so quick to dismiss a century of experience because of something typed on a webpage by a total stranger who may or may not be someone you wouldn't trust to water your lawn.






Plants have a LOT do with local water chemistry. Chances are, the things done by your neighbor are more likely to work for you than something done by someone from a completely different part of the country... or world.

However, there is more to your neighbor's story... He has something preventing root growth into the filter. It might be he is growing water column feeders, or he has a screen that effectively makes the undergravel not work in the traditional sense... but is dragging the nutrients directly to the roots of the root feeders.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-22-2013, 03:00 PM
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could be it's a reverse flow undergravel filter?

Or that the overriding thing is the plants.

Which means ugf or no the plants would make the tank last for years and years.

FWIW I have used the planted method in 1/2 dozen cities in the US with various municiple water sources while I was being moved around in the air force.

All with the same results.

So I doubt the conditions of any one city made any difference in the success of the tanks.

Still just my.02

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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