First Heavily Planted Aquarium
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First Heavily Planted Aquarium

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First Heavily Planted Aquarium
Old 03-07-2011, 08:24 PM   #1
 
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First Heavily Planted Aquarium

I have decided I want to try my hand at a heavily planted aquarium. I have read Byron's planted aquarium guide and both of my current tanks have live plants in them, but I have no experience with rooted plants like swords and cryps so I have a few questions.

The tank I am using is a 20H (24x12), here is what I was planning so far.

Substrate: Seachem Fourite
Lighting: 24" Power Compact (second hand so I am not sure about the bulbs)
Filter: Undecided
Residents: 3 Hypancistrus Contradens, Red Cherry shrimp, Possibly a group of Cardinal Tetras

So here are my questions.

- I would like to have a filter in the tank and have been thinking about the Fluval U2, has anyone used these with planted tanks? I have only really used aquaclear filters in the past so I am open to suggestions.

- How deep does the substrate need to be to anchor the plants.

- I am thinking of ordering a plant package from liveaquaria.com, has anyone ever ordered these and were you satisfied with the plants?


Thanks in advance for any answers you have
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:32 PM   #2
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-You can go with that filter if you want but one of the things I've observed, my plants have all done better with a smaller amount of flow, I switch from a HOB to a sponge and my plants (especially the surface ones) have growth alot better.

- 2-3" I think is good, I forget but I think its about 4" that you start to develop the low level oxygen bacteria that can build up toxic gases that can poison your tank. Not sure if thats just with sand or gravel too, maybe someone else can elaborate.

-Never ordered plants from them but, love their supply side.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
 
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I had wanted to use an underwater filter to give the lower levels a little movement for the plecos, anyone have a suggestion on an underwater filter for a planted tank?
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:42 PM   #4
 
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- I would like to have a filter in the tank and have been thinking about the Fluval U2, has anyone used these with planted tanks? I have only really used aquaclear filters in the past so I am open to suggestions.
That should be fine, but it may be cheaper to run a powerhead-driven sponge filter. They can be turned up to produce a little flow. Too much flow will hurt your plants though.

- How deep does the substrate need to be to anchor the plants.
I prefer a depth of 2 inches, but usually I slope it up so it's a little deeper in the back for large plants like swords and crypts.

- I am thinking of ordering a plant package from liveaquaria.com, has anyone ever ordered these and were you satisfied with the plants?
I have never ordered from Liveaquaria due to the high price. SweetAquatics is much cheaper (Aquarium Plants Pond Plants From Sweet Aquatics). Sometimes they get busy and take a little longer to ship the products, but their price and quality is worth it. They also have general plant packages, and custom designed plant packages.

I've had anaerobic bacteria like Zof was mentioning in two inches, but I was using soil under the sand. Gravel usually has no problems with anaerobic bacteria as long as you don't go crazy and put 6 inches of gravel. I think 2-3 inches looks best though, regardless.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
 
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I personally prefer sponge filters in small tanks.

I would be very concerned over this small a tank for 3 Hypancistrus contradens though. They attain 5 inches, and like all of the genus are territorial with conspecifics. I have a Hypancistrus furunculus in my 115g, it is basically the same in needs, size, etc., and I couldn't imagine having even one of him in my 20g high. In the profile for this species it says a 48-inch tank minimum, and that's just one. As I mentioned, they are territorial. They also tend to dig valleys in the substrate, esp males when ready to spawn. And they each need a sizable chunk of wood in which to hide (in a tunnel, for instance), and you should provide more "spots" than there will be fish, as they will choose their own cave and not accept any one, and of course will fight over a preference; another reason for a 4-foot tank with more than one. My single H. furunculus decided he would take over the spot occupied by my Rineloricaria (Whiptail); Whiptail never ventured into that spot again.

On the substrate, 2-3 inches. A comment on the anaerobic issue. It is actually true that plants need anaerobic substrates much more than aerobic, which is why most of we planted tank aquarists do not vacuum the substrate. Plant growth will be better, and provided that is happening and the tank is otherwise biologically balanced, there will be no issues for the fish.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 03-08-2011 at 08:04 PM..
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
 
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The 3 H. Contradens are all less than 2" at the moment so I am not worried about space for the time being. That being said, most of the breeders I know who keep Hypancistrus sp. breed them in 20L of 40 breeders. The ones who have large groups (10 plus) keep them in a 40L or a 55. I have never heard anywhere but on this sites profiles that Hypan sp.need 48" tanks. I will as with everything else keep an eye on it though.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:21 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorax84 View Post
The 3 H. Contradens are all less than 2" at the moment so I am not worried about space for the time being. That being said, most of the breeders I know who keep Hypancistrus sp. breed them in 20L of 40 breeders. The ones who have large groups (10 plus) keep them in a 40L or a 55. I have never heard anywhere but on this sites profiles that Hypan sp.need 48" tanks. I will as with everything else keep an eye on it though.
The profiles are assuming long-term care of fish in a display tank, and optimum health of the fish who have needs that should be provided. Breeding is a very different thing. Discus are raised with 100 in a 30 or 40 gallon tank, but no one would ever suggest keeping them as such.

The other issue is that fish grow all their lives, and if the space is not sufficient--and water quality is a big part of this--they will be prone to problems, including stunting. The afore-mentioned discus example are given 90% water changes several times each day to prevent problems.

Last edited by Byron; 03-08-2011 at 09:23 PM..
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:30 PM   #8
 
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I am not talking about people growing out fish in a 20l, I am talking about maintaining a breeding group of adults that spawn regularly in a 20l. As far as I am concerned if you are getting regular spawns you must be doing something right. I understand your concerns, but I am sticking with my group of 3 and I will see how they do. I currently do about 2 50% water changes a week and they are all growing at the normal rate.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:54 AM   #9
 
I had the U2, just not with plants. However, it does have a spray bar setting IIRC. Not sure what the flow is on that setting.
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Old 06-07-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
 
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It seems that Hypancistrus Contradens reach approximately 12-13 inches, but often stores sell Hypancistrus sp L201 which looks identical and maxes out at 5".

They may turn out to be the same species, and simply two different subtypes... If you have the 5" version, that should work.
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