Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Planted Tank Questions (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/planted-tank-questions-244498/)

Dveha 08-09-2013 03:02 PM

Planted Tank Questions
 
I currently have a 20 gal unplanted freshwater tank. I have some plastic plants, but was reading that my molly might like some Vallisneria.

(1) Can I put plants in an already established tank?
(2) What are the basic pros/cons of planted/unplanted?
(3) Can I have a combo of fake and real plants?
(4) Is there a certain amount that I should have?

Boredomb 08-09-2013 03:25 PM

1). Yes there is no problem with that.
2).Pros would be plants do wonders to the cleaning the water plus to me look nice. Cons. Well I personally don't see any but they require a lil extra care.
3). Yes you can have both if you like. There is nothing wrong with and all about how you want to setup the tank.
4). No certain amount is needed. You can plant a tank as lightly or as heavily you want. All depends what look you are after.

Back to the extra care part. When I say extra care it isn't anything bad or that takes effort. Plants do need a certain amount of nutrients. So dosing fertilizers is usually best. There are a few exceptions to take (kinda). There are a few slow growing plants that can survive on what's in the water column and waste from the fish and fish food. Anubias comes to.mind here and so does Java ferns. Through it still wouldn't hurt to add fertilizer for those. Second plants need light. The light will depend on the plants you want. You have low light plants (like the ones I mentioned above are low light) meaning they don't need bright lights. You basic fixture that comes with a tank will work for them. Then you have medium light and high light plants. This can be where you have to change the bulb in the fixture or even the fixture itself depending on what you got.

So my question to you is what kind of light fixture do you have (T8, LEDs, or T5s)? Also what kind of bulb(s) are in there?

Vallisneria are heavy root feeders as well. Meaning you will need to add root tabs (a type of fertilizer you put in the substrate near the plant.).

Dveha 08-12-2013 08:25 AM

My tank came with LED lights in the hood, so that is what I am using currently. They are fairly bright, so I normally just let the natural (indirect) sunlight illuminate the tank most of the day. I'm currently working to fix a small ammonia issue -- how do plants affect ammonia levels?

JDM 08-12-2013 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dveha (Post 2781498)
My tank came with LED lights in the hood, so that is what I am using currently. They are fairly bright, so I normally just let the natural (indirect) sunlight illuminate the tank most of the day. I'm currently working to fix a small ammonia issue -- how do plants affect ammonia levels?

Plants use ammonia for the nitrogen which takes that ammonia out of the nitrogen cycle. I have lots of plants and my nitrates never go above 5ppm and are often zero without the water change.

Your ammonia issue could easily be resolved by dropping in some floating plants, fast growing ones are best. I like duckweed as it is easy (others would argue otherwise) to keep under control but grows quickly, doesn't need tons of light and is easy to "prune". I have added it when I was adding more fish to help offset the ammonia loading and it works well.

Jeff.

beaslbob 08-12-2013 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dveha (Post 2761794)
I currently have a 20 gal unplanted freshwater tank. I have some plastic plants, but was reading that my molly might like some Vallisneria.

(1) Can I put plants in an already established tank?

yep
Quote:

(2) What are the basic pros/cons of planted/unplanted?
see below
Quote:

(3) Can I have a combo of fake and real plants?
yep
Quote:

(4) Is there a certain amount that I should have?
A lot. LOL.

plants consume ammonia (and then) nitrates, phosphates, carbon dioxide and return oxygen and fish food.

So basically the recycle fish wastes into fish food.

Or from the plants perspective, The fish recycle plant waste into plant food. :shock:

You get the idea.

and in the process the entire tank becomes much more stable in operations.

Say something goes bump in the night and ammonia jumps up.

the plants immediately start consuming that ammonia over nitrates in the tank.

Preventing dangerous parameter spikes and preventing tank crashes.

then when things return to normal the plants go back to consuming the requlting nitrates.

Plus a heavily planted tank can become a net consumer of carbon dioxide and producer of oxygen each 24 hour period.

So basically it's a win win win all around situation.

I start a 10g with 4-6 bunches of anacharis, 4-6 vals, 4 small potted types and a single amazon sword.

Actually that would be good for a 20g as well.

For an existing tank, I would drain the tank and save the water and fish.

The add substrate and plant the plants.

And refill the tank with water poured over a dish.

for a substrate I use 1" peat moss (1'x1'x3' plastic cube $10 or so), 1" play sand (50 pound bag $3), 1" pro choice select ($7 for a 50 pound bag) (can substitute gravel), each layer wetted and leveld then the next layer added.

then don't add any food for a week so things can settle in.

my .02

Dveha 08-15-2013 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beaslbob (Post 2784921)
For an existing tank, I would drain the tank and save the water and fish.

The add substrate and plant the plants.

And refill the tank with water poured over a dish.

for a substrate I use 1" peat moss (1'x1'x3' plastic cube $10 or so), 1" play sand (50 pound bag $3), 1" pro choice select ($7 for a 50 pound bag) (can substitute gravel), each layer wetted and leveld then the next layer added.

then don't add any food for a week so things can settle in.

Thanks for your help. I have gravel in my tank currently. I'm seriously considering this, but as a beginner, I am nervous that I am biting off more than I can chew. After your post and reading this helpful guide: How to Setup a Low-tech Planted Tank: A Guide for Planted Aquariums, I might be willing to try it.

How long should I keep the fish out of the tank for?
Will a planted tank affect my filter?

Chesh 08-15-2013 11:05 AM

Hey, Dveha!

Welcome to the wonderful world of planted tanks! ^.^

Mollies are such sweet fish <3 They do like plants, sometimes like nibbling on them, too - naughty things! I'm not sure that mine have ever shown a specific preference for Vals, though from what I've read long grassy plants and thick floaters (water hyacinth) is often where they can be found in the wild. Most fish do seem to feel more comfortable in a planted tank, though there is some debate over if the plants have to be natural or if plastic serves their needs as well.

You can put plants in an established tank, no problem. The plants will only have a positive effect on the tank, provided they are healthy. They'll be able to help with your ammonia problem, for sure, but if you don't mind my asking. . . how long has your tank been set up, and how many Mollies do you have in there? In a fully cycled tank, you shouldn't see ammonia, typically. Adding plants is always a good idea - but I'm wondering if there isn't something at the root of your problem that we might want to look into, as well?

Did you mention what kind of substrate you already have in there? Everyone has their own way of doing things, I'm still on the newbie side of tanks, but I'm currently running *counts* 6? planted tanks, and only one of them has anything other than a plain old sand or gravel substrate - plants are all thriving. So you *can* do this without tearing things apart - if you want to. There's more than one way to plant a tank, I've experimented with only a few!

Do you happen to know the hardness of your water? I ask because I haven't killed *too* many plants in my year and a half, lol, but Vals don't like me :( They seem to do better in harder water, and mine is very soft (also in MD - hollah!)

Here is an article that helped me out when I started, if you want to give it a look-through, might help!






@ Bob - I've never used this method before, curious: Does the peat under the cap bring down Ph any? Might have to set up another experiment tank. ;)

Dveha 08-15-2013 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesh (Post 2807002)
how long has your tank been set up, and how many Mollies do you have in there? In a fully cycled tank, you shouldn't see ammonia, typically.

My tank has been set up a while but I've only had fish in there for 3 weeks. I cycled it prior to adding fish and it appeared to be ammonia free. In retrospect, at that time I was using test strips and now I have upgraded to the liquid test which seems to be more accurate.
I currently have 2 mollies, 2 platys, & 1 guppy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesh (Post 2807002)
Did you mention what kind of substrate you already have in there?

I have natural colored aquarium gravel currently.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chesh (Post 2807002)
Do you happen to know the hardness of your water?

my pH is 8.0

Chesh 08-18-2013 10:14 AM

Just checking in on you, girl! I can't figure out which thread to post on ^.^
How's the tank, and the plant search, going!?

Hope all is well!

Dveha 08-19-2013 03:32 PM

My tank now has some plants!
I used root tabs like you suggested in the substrate. Its fairly lightly planted still, but my fish seem to like hiding in them already.

Um, how do I clean the gravel now that I have plants?


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