Tank just for plant growth?
Seems like I've been posting alot lately, but I have a lot of questions and all of you have helped me so much already xD. A friend of mine once told me that when he was in the hobby he had a tank that he specified just for growing plants. It had a plant substrate he purchased from petsmart and he ran a filter and such through it. I was thinking of making a tank like that also, but it raised a few questions.
Would I really need a filter for it? It would be a 10 gallon tank that is densely planted.
Also would it need a heater? My home is kept at 76 degrees at all times so the water would only be a few degrees cooler.
Lighting? I was thinking of having it atop my dresser right next to a window. Could I use that for lighting?
For the heater, look at the plants you will be keeping and see if they can tolerate the temp your water will be at, which should be around 72-74 degrees. I run my betta tank without any heater and my house is between 74-76F all the time. The plants in it do fine, except I have had hornwort completely fail on me in there.
Natural lighting will work, and it will help with the plants. You will most likely run into algae issues though with so much natural sun light until you figure out the nutrient balance in the tank.
I would still run a 6500k bulb over the tank as well. Is this a stock 10 gallon tank?
If you are considering selling the plants, you want to look into the fast growing plants maybe at first, then get into the more complicated ones.
For substrate you could look into Flourite which a lot of companies sell. Seachem. Flourite There are benefits and downsides to this kind of substrate. You could use this or sand or soil.
There are many experienced aquarist who can guide you further. A lot of these issues are complex and will deal with a lot of things, especially lighting. Lighting is most important when dealing with plants.
You will most likely need to keep either snails or shrimp or both in the tank with the plants. This way the tank stays cycled and there is something producing ammonia for the plants to eat. They need food afterall.
I don't really see the point of a plant only tank. You will definitely need to fertilize since it lacks a bioload. But more specific fertilizers like nitrogen, potassium and phosphates. Even with a plant substrate you are going to be lacking those nutrients that are not really present in rock.
I would go with an artificial light rather than sun light. It gives you more control over the intensity and timing. From what I've read here in the past, the plant substrates aren't a big bang for your buck. I'd like to hear from some of the folks who tried organic potting mixes in their tank at this point. A little water movement is good for most plants. The light and nutrient balance is very important and, having said that, I'll bow out and let people who know their stuff wade in.
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