Planting in a brand new tank?? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Planting in a brand new tank??

For my birthday (today) my husband went last night (while I was sleeping) and got a 55 gallon tank and stand, put the stand together and set the tank up. He knows NOTHING about tanks and I know enough to keep fish alive. LoL but I love the looks of a tank. He thought he was doing me a good thing, and I guess with some good advice getting on my part it will be a good thing once every thing is said and done. It has 50 pounds of rock in the bottom. The temp is about 78F. It looks good.LOL Bare but good. Heres my problem. I would like it semi heavily planted. I know enough to know that I can not plant right in the rock. What should I do? Do I pull the rock out and then what should I put down? then replace the rock on top? This is were I am kinda clueless. I am willing to take my time with this tank so its right before adding fish.

Thanks for any advice.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 02:09 PM
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For a start - lucky you!!!

If I understand the question correctly, then the answer is that plants will grow fine if they are coming up between spaces in rock. I'm no plant expert by any means of the immagination but I have a tank with a lot of rocks and the plants are still alive. You'll need substrate though. I have rounded gravel and that works for me but many recommend sand.

The only thing I would say though, is that every now and again you will have to vaccum the gravel (I'm not sure but I don't think you have to with sand) in order to ensure thatthere are no anaerobic spots and debris trapped which could be a real pain of there are loads of rocks on top of it and you have to move them all the time.

Oh, and Happy Birthday!
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 02:54 PM
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If by rocks you mean the standard aquarium gravel then you can grow plants in that fairly easily. Ground covers don't do well in larger gravel but a lot of plants will.

Can you give us some more iformation as to what you have? What type of gravel/rocks and how big? What type of lighting and how many watts if you can tell? This will ehlp a lot to determine what your tank can handle right now. For a heavily planted tank lighting is a very important key and you may have to upgrade it, depending on what it came with.

Ask away, never a dumb question and there are a lot of members who can help here.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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He got the 55 gallon walmart special. The gravel is 1/4 inch natural colored gravel. (also a walmart special). The lights are I don't know.. BULBS!!! It has Two 18inch Florescent bulbs. 200 watt heater. It also came with a Aqua-Tech power filter. He got two of the bubble curtains for it and hooked those up for air supply.

Sand works as a substrate though?
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 03:35 PM
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The gravel will be fine. I actually thoguht you meant big rocks, like you might find on a beach. I know you can buy rocks in rish stpres and many poeple use them for hiding places, to build caves, just because they look nice. I actually thoguht that's what you meant, sorry.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 03:37 PM
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Sand does work. It requires a little more maintainance but can be done.

As for the gravel. It will work also. I have used the same thing and I can grow anything but ground covers like HC and Glasso.

The lighting is going to be the issue as far as what plants you can grow. I believe those are 15 watts, maybe 21 but far below what you will need to grow a lot of plants but is enough to grow some.

Take a look at the following sites to get an idea of what plants you like then we can discuss the lighting. Anubias, Elodea, Java Fern, Java Moss, and many others can be grown in that lighting but won't grow really fast.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Since I'm no electrician either, can't I just put a higher watt bulb in there?. 15 is what comes with it but do i have to keep 15? Thank you for the links. I'll be looking through them to see exactly what I like.

Thanks again.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 04:37 PM
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The bulb is the highest the fixture will take unfortunately.

There are options to upgrade the lighting. They are not cheap but will do the job and you can decide what light level you want to go to. Ebay has options and there is another site that does Power Compacts fixtures.
AH Supply is do it yourself though so maybe not the best option unless you or hubby can do some basic electric work and from what I have heard it is extremely easy to do. 85-110 watts is going to be the range that you can go to without needing CO2 injection to control algae.

Oh, and you will want to consider replacing the filter. Aquaview work ok but for heavily planted and for good filtering capacity you will want to get at least a good HOB, AquaClear, Penguin, or other good brand or a canister filter, Eheim and Fluval are recommended a lot. Personally I like Aquaclear but I haven't owned a canister for many years so I can't really recommend a brand.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-26-2007, 08:36 PM
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And you can sure as heck grow plants on rocks under low light. Lay java moss on the rok until the upper half is covered, then wrap a hairnet around it. You can tie down anubias and java fern on rock as well. Heck, I have one rock in my 55 that has javamoss, a java fern, and an anubias barteri v. coffeefolia on it (course, that's under 130 watts of CF light, but that's not germane for those plants.)

Logic is only the beginning of wisdom
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