first planted tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-07-2013, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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first planted tank

Maybe you wonderful people out there could help with some advice on starting a planted tank. I have an extra 10 gallon that I want to use as a guppy nursery. Always wanted to grow a batch of nice guppies but some how never got around to it. Ive been keeping fish for many years,but ive never had many plants. I envision a very densely planted tank, possibly soil base with sand cap. I've never done anything like that before so I need a lot of advice and guidance. What kind of soil? How to set up and cycle. Fertilizer? Do I NEED special lights to get good results? What types of plants are good for a begginer. Anything to be careful of or special tricks to get great looking plants. Thanks to all who reply.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-07-2013, 06:43 AM
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I'm going to use Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix (MGOCPM), a popular choice, and a black sand cap. It helps to read posts about Natural Planted Tanks.


10g planted tank since 4/18/12; 2 10W CFLs; Fluval U2 filter; substrate: MGOCPM.
6 Pristella Tetras,
1 Betta splendens (f)
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-07-2013, 09:30 AM
make sure to sift that soil really well. it has tons of wood in it.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 04:21 AM
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MGOCPM is the preferred choice of a lot of ppl. I have used it before in a dirted tank before. I have done it a couple of tines in fact. The first time I sifted it as Rex pointed out. The second time I just dumped the bag into the tank and capped it. It does pretty well either way. The down side to planted dirt tanks. You can't really rearrange the plants once you planted them the first time. As you will usually get dirt every where if you uproot the plants and move them.
Special lights are not really needed. Just need to make sure the bulb that fits in your fixture is 6500 Kelvin. Liquid fertilizer can still be used but root tabs are not needed.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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I have 18" standard flourescent tube hood. Is that ok or do I need a special bulb?

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post #6 of 12 Old 12-08-2013, 12:58 PM
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I have 18" standard flourescent tube hood. Is that ok or do I need a special bulb?
That will work fine as long as you don't get into high light plants. You can go to a hardware store and get a daylight bulb around 65000k or to the pet store and buy a plant bulb like Zoo meds ultra daylight bulb. Those will be more light intensive then a hardware store brand soo more light will reach the bottom of the tank but they cost more also.

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post #7 of 12 Old 12-09-2013, 10:34 AM
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Maybe you wonderful people out there could help with some advice on starting a planted tank. I have an extra 10 gallon that I want to use as a guppy nursery. Always wanted to grow a batch of nice guppies but some how never got around to it. Ive been keeping fish for many years,but ive never had many plants. I envision a very densely planted tank, possibly soil base with sand cap. I've never done anything like that before so I need a lot of advice and guidance. What kind of soil? How to set up and cycle. Fertilizer? Do I NEED special lights to get good results? What types of plants are good for a begginer. Anything to be careful of or special tricks to get great looking plants. Thanks to all who reply.
You might want to check out the link in my signature.

I used those methods to start a 10g with a trio of guppies. Six month later it was teaming with guppies.

and it maintained a more or les stable population of 30 or so guppies (6 adulat) for the next 9 years.

I used to harvest 1/2 dozen guppies from time to time for friends and family.


my .02
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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 #8 of 12 Old 12-10-2013, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replys. I have 1" miracle grow, 1" sand, and quarter inch gravel. I just filled water today , so far so good.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-10-2013, 02:04 AM
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I would really love to hear about your setup process and planting, maybe some pics?


10g planted tank since 4/18/12; 2 10W CFLs; Fluval U2 filter; substrate: MGOCPM.
6 Pristella Tetras,
1 Betta splendens (f)
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-10-2013, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Im terrible with technology and I need help from my daughter to get pictures from my camara to the internet but I'll try to get some up soon. Not much to look at right now anyway though. Plants don't come till next week. What I did was just pack the potting soil into the tank then wet it so no air pockets would develop. When it was soaked to my satisfaction, I topped it with dry sand that I had rinsed then set near the fireplace to dry. Then I put flat stones on top of the sand so I could add more water without blowing to sand up. I decided to top it with gravel only after I noticed how sensative the sand was to water currents; I added the filter and as soon as the flow started I noticed the sand starting to drift. The gravel is very sparse no more than 1-2 pebbles deep- just enough to hold the sand in place. This is totaly new to me, I've never done soil before so I can't wait to see how the plants will respond. I've often wondered how plants survive with just gravel. If the plants do well and water tests are acceptable then I will think about fish. If this tank exceeds my expectations, I might change all my tanks over . Oh, except the cichlid tank. Theydont take kindly to plants anyway and they like to dig. Id probaly end up with mud everywhere.

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