Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   New Live Plant Tank (

FishinFool 03-22-2009 02:59 PM

New Live Plant Tank
Im looking to start up a live plant tank in my 10 gallon aquarium and im just doin a little research before I go out and buy some stuff. Im guessing a UV bulb is very neccesary for the tank but I just had a few questions on the other stuff. Can I put live plants on regular gravel or should i buy the special onyx sand or fertilizzer substrate for it? Also I have seen some plants that say they don't need a CO2 infuser so i guess thats only a benefit for some plants. Any help would be great because I'm not new to aquariums I just have never grown live plants in one.

Byron 03-22-2009 03:47 PM

How you go about setting up a planted tank depends upon what you want and what you're willing to spend. If you view some of the members' tank photos you'll see thriving planted tanks that go from hi-tech to low-tech and everything in between. A hi-tech setup has more light, CO2, and substrate additives (either gravel with added materials like laterite, soil, etc, or special plant substrates. The important thing is that all this has to be in balance. A low-tech setup would use regular gravel or sand, 1-2 watts of light per gallon, and maybe liquid fertilizer periodically; here again it has to balance. In a low-tech setup some plants will probably not grow, but those that will grow (swords, vallisneria, anubias, crypts, some stem plants) will do so more slowly.

In any setup, the duration and strength of light has to balance the available nutrients (trace elements and CO2) to provide what the plants require and not excessive algae. If it does, the plants will be healthy and beautiful. There are previous posts that describe various ways of achieving this; you might want to check them out and then decide which way to go to achieve what you want in the end.

docsoldlady 03-23-2009 03:09 PM

It depends on what you're willing to spend, amount of time you're willing to invest, and so on. I personally started up a planted tank for my shrimp and sort of started tossing plant clippings in other tanks and seeing how well they faired. My main planted tanks are 2, 10 gallons and a 5 gallon which are all shrimp tanks. I have a light fixture that hangs overhead with 2, 40w plant bulbs which you can find at your local hardware store. I use a mix of gravel and sand for substrate. No ferts or CO2. I like a lot of stem plants because I've found they are easy to stick in the substrate and they will take off, which is nice for clippings. This I am sure isn't the case with all stem plants. I stick with low-med light plants and love mosses. See what your LFS carries or check with some of the members on the forum. I've seen some nice started plant packages done up on some of the forums I frequent. Most of my plants I obtained from purchasing shrimp or a plant package. I only purchased from my LFS 1 time and got a nice plant from WM once.

Now what do you have in mind for plants? Was there something that caught your eye? What do you have for lighting? A 10 gallon would be a fine start and find "plant bulbs" that fit your aquarium hood. I think WM even sells plant lights now but if not most hardware stores carry a variety of sizes. From there determine your WPG and look for plants that fit that range. Also keep in mind some plants need trimming often and can overcrowd the aquarium. Floaters can block out light. If you don't like snails beware of hitchhiker snails when purchasing plants. Etc etc etc

I am sure there are many members here with more experience than I have but I figure if I can run a planted tank anyone can LOL

WisFish 03-23-2009 07:00 PM

I agree with everything that's been said. I'd also add that some plants are picky and will only grow if everything that's been mentioned is just right. PH, temp, CO2 levels, etc all determine the plants that will grow in your tank. I'd start low tech and work your way up from there. 2 watts of light and some ferts.

ghosty 03-24-2009 12:41 PM

ich on plants
so the last time i added plants some of my fish got do i prevent this can i give them a salt bath? i have no area to quarintine them since my quaratine tank is in use...any suggestions...sorry wrong area i ment to start a new thread:oops:

Byron 03-24-2009 01:13 PM


Originally Posted by ghosty (Post 182006)
so the last time i added plants some of my fish got do i prevent this can i give them a salt bath? i have no area to quarintine them since my quaratine tank is in use...any suggestions...sorry wrong area i ment to start a new thread:oops:

If the plants come from a tank containing fish, rinse them thoroughly in warm water by holding them underwater in a bucket and agitating them, and use your fingers to wipe the leaves if that is possible. The idea is to remove any ich cysts that might be on the leaves and stems. No need to add salt or any medication since the ick would not be susceptible to anything until the free swimming stage.

Are you sure the ich resulted from the plants? A lot of factors can trigger an outbreak. I read some time back that ich is always present in our aquaria, but it only becomes an outbreak when something triggers it, such as a sudden drop in temperature (chilling the fish), stress (a lot of things can cause this, from agressive fish in the tank, maintaining the fish in an environment that is not natural to the species, fluctuating pH or hardness, poor maintenance, leaving the tank lights on 24 hours every day, etc).

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