I want to get serious with planting 55 gallon - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 03-25-2011, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
Cassandra90's Avatar
Question I want to get serious with planting 55 gallon

I have a 55 gallon long tank. I decided that I would love to make it a fully planted tank. It probably wont happen until late spring when the weather gets nicer to get live plants shipped.

All my information is on the aquarium log/aquariums.

My main questions are:

I have noticed alot of members using fine gravel or sand when having a planted tank.
Should I switch to this substrate? ( I have larger gravel)

Should I remove my undergravel filter?

What is the correct light wattage to keep plants alive?

At the moment I have 9 live plants: Moneyworts, Java Ferns, I think a anuabis(sp), and another fern type plant.

I use API plant fertilizer.

Any other suggestions or tips will be appreciated. Thank you!

Cassandra90 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 03-25-2011, 12:32 PM
Fine grain gravel and sand are usually used for planted tanks because the smaller grain size allows the plant to root more securely and easily, with larger grain gravel, it becomes easy for plants to float and get pulled out before its rooted deep enough to hold.

For the UGF, most people remove it when planting a tank because its supposed to be bad for plants, not exactly sure why, but it seems to be the general consensus. However, some have used it with plants to some degree of success and others have switched their pumps to pump water into the system to create a reverse flow UGF and that fixes some of the problems.

Correct light is dependent on what plants you want, most plants will do ok with low lights, using higher lighting sometimes means you are aiming to keep more advanced plants like HC, but then you start getting into CO2 injection, fert dosing schedules, etc to maintain a balance in the aquarium.

With the plants you have, get plant bulbs, assuming you have a t-8 hood, but dont go over 1-2w per gallon. anymore than that might get you too much algae. You will need way more plants than 9 though, just from that assortment of plants, if you fill the tank with them, 1-2w should be fine.

Flourish Comprehensive the usual recommended fert, I am unfamiliar with API's leafzone, but I do know that flourish contains most of the macro and micro ferts needed for the aquarium.
SinCrisis is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 03-25-2011, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
Cassandra90's Avatar
THank you for the much needed help. I'll keep doing my research for the next 2 months or so.

Cassandra90 is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 03-26-2011, 01:29 PM
Byron's Avatar
I'll just expand a bit on the suggestions from SinCrisis (with which I concur).

Undergravel filters can work, there are too many planted tanks using them to say otherwise, but they are not the filter of choice for a planted tank. One problem is that plant roots will clog the plate openings. Another is that the water is drawn down through the substrate faster than it should be for optimum plant growth. In the substrate there is a very complex cycle going on, between bacteria (here we are talking bacteria different from the normal nitrifying bacteria), plant roots, and nutrients brought down in the water. There is a natural flow of water through the substrate in the aquarium just as what occurs in nature. It is always best to let nature do its thing without interference; it usually means more success, with less to go wrong.

As you may be switching substrates anyway, removing the UG filter plate would be recommended. As for the substrate, a finer substrate works better both from the aspect of anchoring the plant roots and be assisting the afore-mentioned complex activity. In my 20+ years I have used just about every substrate material there is, except for soil [which is a whole different issue], and I can say with certainty that plants do best in a small-grain fine gravel or sand.

For some background on these and other issues, like the light question, have a read of my article "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of this section of the forum. There are 4 parts (too long for one post) covering the basics of a natural or low-tech setup.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Byron is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 03-28-2011, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
Cassandra90's Avatar
Thank you Bryon. I am going to slowly buy the materials needed.
Hopefully it all works out for me.
Posted via Mobile Device
Cassandra90 is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help for planting. saharawarpub Beginner Planted Aquarium 3 12-15-2010 01:05 PM
48 gallon flat back hex needs planting rickstankbuddies Beginner Planted Aquarium 4 03-06-2010 03:46 PM
Looking for help with planting a new 29 gallon tank Freddy Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 9 01-05-2010 08:28 PM
New to planting James Beginner Planted Aquarium 8 11-16-2008 03:23 PM
please help!!! im new to planting onefish2fish Beginner Planted Aquarium 5 07-25-2008 05:12 PM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome