Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Why Planted Tanks differ so much !?!?!? (

fish_4_all 12-20-2006 01:43 AM

Why Planted Tanks differ so much !?!?!?
I really don't know the answer to this yet but I am hoping that we can get an idea. Hopefully others will help me out here to try and find the answers. So here is where I think we need to start.

What do you think is the most important element of the planted tank and why?

I think it is a contstant source of carbon from either CO2 injection or the use of Excel. I have tried both and while using DIY CO2, I had spuratic growth at best and I was never able to get the rate of growth I get from using Excel. Just like DIY CO2, when my levels weren't constant I got BBA or staghorn. If I miss a day or two of Excel dosing I get staghorn back again and have to fight it with regular dosing and spot treatments. Of course you need descent lighting and a good dosing regiment but once you have that, a regular and constant source of carbon will give you better growth than getting more light or a better substrate. That is how it works for me anyway.

Save the debate for later, these are facts based on our own experience and I know that there is a lot of members who can not get certain things to work for them that others can. For me, DIY CO2 was a major bust so I switched to Excel, some may not have much luck with Excel but have great success with DIY CO2. With the success I have had in one tank, the same is not true in a tank right beside it with the exact same dosing, lighting, substrate and basically the same plants.

crazie.eddie 12-20-2006 02:10 AM


What do you think is the most important element of the planted tank and why?
I like a natural looking tank.

I know they help in taking in ammonia, nitrates, & CO2.

I also like to watch something else grow, other than fish. I prefer the plants not to be the centerpiece of the tank, since I want the fish to be the centerpiece.

I don't use any ferts, CO2 in my 20 gallon long L-046 and shrimp tanks and just use no more than 2wpg for lights.

Bristle nose 12-20-2006 02:12 AM

Re: Why Planted Tanks differ so much !?!?!?

Originally Posted by fish_4_all
What do you think is the most important element of the planted tank and why?

It depends on the plants that you have! Some are more dependent on added Iron, ect. I dont add anything for my plants to my tank water, so for me the most important element would be light!

Bristle nose 12-20-2006 02:26 AM


Originally Posted by crazie.eddie
I like a natural looking tank.

Me to, i cant stand anything fake or unatural in my tanks, i just find it to look really stupid when you start putting things in your tanks like plastic ships and other unatural ornaments! I dont even like man made fish, even though i do have a few, but i am going to get rid of them eventually, LOL!

Aquaticmoon 12-20-2006 08:45 AM

Lighting is the most important, imo. You call have great looking tank without co2, poor ferts, sub-par substrate, and so forth. Solwer growth, true, but the plants will still grow.
Now try having the wrong light set up . To little and the plants die. To much lighting ,and your prone to algea.
After lighting I would say time. the longer a planted tank is up and running you get better growth, and happy fish.

NoN co2,little ferts, good substrate, and good lighting.

Whats a post without a little smiley :wink: :tease: :sick:[/img]

Andrew 12-20-2006 09:17 AM

plnted tanks differ to what? non planted tanks? or marine?

Its not one element its all elements- depends on what your after really doesnt it- do you want 100% plant growth? do you put plants before fish?

you need strong lighting-2wpg minimum and you need co2- if you want the mature aquairum you are going to need ferts and to get the water crystal clear you are going to have to build the chemistry by hand so you will need R/O water.

fish_4_all 12-20-2006 03:47 PM

My water is so soft already that R/O would be a waste. I have to add everything just to get my GH and KH above 1.

I have to dose or it takes 3 weeks just to see that any of my plants have even grown. With my tank I have about 33 watts on each 10 gallon and dosing makes for awesome growth. According to the chart, tis only gives me moderate lighting so I shouldn't even have to dose Excel but it helps to control the algae.

As far as the ways planted tanks differ:
Growth rates
Colors of plants
Which plants will and won't grow
How CO2 effects growth and algae
How much lighting and how it translates into growth with or without CO2 or Excel.
Which plants seem to hog nutrients and compete with other plants
Which fertilizers you use, Seachem, dry, non, only micros, only macros, root tabs etc and how much you dose
Is there a difference in using HOB filters and Canisters
Does the tank get any direct sunlight
How long the lights are left on
Tap water parameters
And so on and so forth, just 100's of variables that make or break each individual tank

And yes, it is supposed to be planted vs. planted tank, non-planted you don't even need a light over it. :wink:

caferacermike 12-20-2006 08:57 PM

Remember it is all a cycle. To much or not enough and you get poor results.

To much lighting and no added co2. The plants will slow down their growth but algae will grow ultra fast due to excess nutrients that the plants are not using.

To much lighting and no supplements, no more growth.

To much Co2 and not enough lighting. The tank can crash and have all kinds of PH problems.

To much Co2 and not enough ferts. Same as above with to much lighting and not enough ferts.

to much ferts and not enough light. Extremely bad. Plant growth will slow and algae will abound.

To much fert and not enough Co2. Instant plant burst until they run out of Co2 to synthesise with. Instant algae problem

Also remember that the bulbs spectrum plays a huge role. Bulbs out of spectrum or worn out will contribute to either no growth or algae problems.

herefishy 12-20-2006 09:04 PM

I have 9 planted tanks myself. Although light is important, many other things also add to a healthy planted aquascape. pH, water quality, temperature, adequate nourishment all lend a little to the overall health of a planted aquarium. Aquatic plants, just like terrestrials, have diferent requirements. They are kind of like the three bears of Goldilocks fame. Every plant has its own diverse requirements. To put it in "fish terms", you wouldn't mix a soft acidic water loving fish(rasbora) with a cichlid from Lake Tanganyika, with the H2O requirements matching one or the other and expect both to flourish, would you? Same goes for plants. When we make a general hard statement that one single thing is THE most important element, we must at least temper our statements by saying that no one element is key to raising plants just the same as we temper are statements toward fishkeeping. If we really want to address the subject of what is the MOST important element in keeping plants we would have to say that "meeting the requirements of the plant" is most important, just as we do for fishkeeping.

Andrew 12-21-2006 06:53 PM

R/O water is not just about softness its 99.9% pure, so no mineral content no pollution nitrate nitrite phosphates or any other wash off from agriculture such as diesel, or fert or pesticide, or chlorine or any other additives- you are in compete control with R/O- like my guru said why put chance in charge of your tank.

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