Low tech - noob help
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Low tech - noob help

This is a discussion on Low tech - noob help within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I am thinking of switching my 55 gallon to planted somewhere about a month from now. I really dont want to go throught the ...

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Old 02-24-2011, 03:06 AM   #1
 
Low tech - noob help

I am thinking of switching my 55 gallon to planted somewhere about a month from now. I really dont want to go throught the hassle of pulling all of the teal rock out of the bottom of it. Would I be able to just add the plants without using any kind of plant nutrient friendly substrate and expect any kind of results? I have never done a planted tank before but I love the looks of real vs fake. I am currently making some driftwood that will go in the tank along with some real larger rocks as well. Should I pull out all of the teal rock and go with a more natural colored substrate?
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:33 AM   #2
 
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Originally Posted by deman3 View Post
I am thinking of switching my 55 gallon to planted somewhere about a month from now. I really dont want to go throught the hassle of pulling all of the teal rock out of the bottom of it. Would I be able to just add the plants without using any kind of plant nutrient friendly substrate and expect any kind of results? I have never done a planted tank before but I love the looks of real vs fake. I am currently making some driftwood that will go in the tank along with some real larger rocks as well. Should I pull out all of the teal rock and go with a more natural colored substrate?


Plant's and fish will look much better over dark substrate but plant's would prolly grow in what you have depending on plant's selected and proper lighting. If substrate is too large in grain size,it could make it difficult for plant's to send roots out. But plant's such as anubia,javafern,and java moss which should be attached to wood or rock,,would not care about grain size.
Should you decide to switch colors and grain size,,I would rinse the new gravel really good and leave about one eighth inch of the old in the bottom of the tank and place the new on top. This will give bacteria a big head start developing in the substrate where it breaks down fish food and waste to make it more easily available for plants as food.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
 
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As 1077 mentioned, the grain size of the substrate can sometimes affect plant growth, negatively if too large. What exactly do you have now? The approximate size of the grains is what I'm asking about.

And a dark substrate absolutely works not only to accent plant and fish colours, but many forest fish occur over very dark substrates and will be more relaxed (= healthier) and show off more intense colouration over a dark substrate. I have had fish when moved from a natural buff-coloured substfrate to a dark one display much more intense colouration, and not only that, but more out and about activity, simply because they felt more secure.

You may or may not decide to replace the substrate, but now rather than later is the time to do it if you do. I have changed the substrate in tanks myself, and it is a lot more effort with a tank full of plants and fish.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
 
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You could even add some similiarly-sized black gravel to darken it... That way you can keep the teal, and just scoop a few pounds out first.

You really don't need an enriched substrate... Personally, I think they help, but I would never buy something like eco-complete and you can have a beautiful tank with a liquid fertiliser (like flourish) and inert gravel.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:49 PM   #5
 
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Most of the people that have answered your question are the people I get my info from, so you are in good hands. I would second changing the substrate now, or even half of it, replaced with black or dark brown substrate, it helps the color of both the fish and plants "pop", not to mention it more closely resembles natural habitats of most fish thus (as mentioned) helps the fish feel more "at home".

I wouldn't change it all at once or you might get a mini cycle, as the substrate contains a lot of the benificial bacteria in your tank. Anyhow, you might consider putting a few hand fulls of the new substrate in mesh bags and half submerging them in the old substrate for about a week prior to removing the old stuff. Then mix this cultured substrate in with the new to give it a "jump start". I have never done this, I have just thought of it before, so I don't know if it would really have much of an impact on an established tank. Just speculation.

In my opinion you don't really need any special substrate (maybe it helps, but I can't really tell a difference in growth or health between walmart substrate and eco complete) If you are worried about it though, and like me think that spending 25 bucks is a little crazy for substrate, there are many plants you can buy that primarily assimilate nutrients through their leaves rather than roots. Cheap gravel + liquid fertilizer works great for me.
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