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Azazel 08-16-2009 07:59 PM

Setting up my first planted freshwater tank
 
hey I'm new here, there's a lot of interesting stuff going on, and everyone seems really knowledgeable:-), I'll start by saying that I've been in the Saltwater aquarium fish hobby for several years and have gotten quite good I take care of several reefs at home, I'm heading off to college though and being on my own I discovered that I did not have enough money to start a new reef tank.

I do however have a JBJ 12 gallon nanocube that I bought earlier planning to start a reef tank, I started thinking about what I could do and the next best thing is definitely a planted tank.

I've done some preliminary reading and it seems like everything is good to go and that i don't really have to make too many modifications to the nanocube:-P (please correct me if i'm wrong)

but soon after this I discovered that I knew absolutely nothing about freshwater plants, which ones are easy to take care of, which ones look good, how fast they grow all those things.

since i'm new i'm looking for plants of easy to medium difficulty I'm not sold on any one plant yet but there are a few things, i'm going to have access to RO/DI water and i'm going to use flourite or eco-complete for as a substrate. I'll do water changes as often as is recommended, I don't think I plan on initially doing C02 injection but I might be convinced over time but I think I should lay it out assuming that I won't be doing any.

I also want to keep fish, which kind of fish doesn't really make that much of a differen't as long as these plants don't totally exclude me keeping a wide variety of fish.

a few things I know that I do want though

I want a plant that floats at the top of my tank like a lilly-pad type thing, doesn't have to be flowering ut that would awesome as well. I'd like if this plant had roots that went to the bottom
I want a relatively easy to keep plant that completely covers the ground of my tank forming a green mat.
I want a red plant of some kind
I want a plant that that takes up a good part of the middle of the tank

any suggestions on any of these would be very appreciated.

If I haven't provided enough specifics please tell me

So
-no c02 injection at least initially
-48 watts of CFL lighting
-good filtration, good water parameters
-all eco-complete/flourite substrate
-there will be fish but I can negotiate on the type

any livestock recommendations would be great too

Mikaila31 08-16-2009 08:51 PM

You really need to cut back on the lighting. As of right now that tank has very high lighting for a planted tank and will be difficult to maintain with pressurized co2. At the very most you would want 24 watts of light, starting out 18 watts would be best IMO. Also the light should have a kelvin temp of 5,000k to 10,000K.

for plants I would look at tiger lotus, cabomba, java moss, brown and green crypts.

Azazel 08-16-2009 11:04 PM

well two of them are actinic an and don't really put much light in the correct part of the spectrum so I have 24 watts of 10,000 kelvin lighting. I can probably even turn the actinics off, and those all seemed like good suggestions, does java moss grow a long ways upward though because I want something that grows pretty much horizontally, any other suggestions would also be great thanks.

Byron 08-17-2009 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Azazel (Post 228500)
well two of them are actinic an and don't really put much light in the correct part of the spectrum so I have 24 watts of 10,000 kelvin lighting. I can probably even turn the actinics off, and those all seemed like good suggestions, does java moss grow a long ways upward though because I want something that grows pretty much horizontally, any other suggestions would also be great thanks.

I've personally never used actinic lights since the plant experts all agree that plants do not grow well under them, so I would get rid of those. I agree with Mikaila31 that you need to significantly reduce the intensity of light over a 12g tank; otherwise algae will be rampant. The best plant growth light is full spectrum as M mentioned. A single tube over a 12g wuld be quite sufficient, whatever the wattage (probably a 15w, they are standard), a Life-Glo 2 is my preference for single tube tanks, or a Ultra-Sun or Tropic-Sun from Zoo Med.

When you say horizontally, do you mean like a carpet across the substrate, or horizontally as in Anubias? Anubias grows from a rhizome, which grows sort of at a 45 degree angle out with leaves arising along the rhizome, and the rhizome frequently divides as it spreads. Anubias is a very slow grower. I had one in my former 90g that grew 10+ years into a plant with about 3 feet of rhizome in different directions. You can break it apart and place the pieces where ever. It does not grow roots in the substrate, but attaches to wood and rocks like Java Fern. And yes, JF grows vertical, although it also spreads by a growing rhizome as well as daughter plants from the leaves.

Byron.

1077 08-17-2009 11:08 AM

I would also keep in mind that floating plants or lily type plants(see tiger lotus),, will or could block light from reaching the plants below. May not be a problem with Anubias which I have found grow slowly but grow with minimal lighting. Wisteria if kept trimmed will grow horizontally. Crypt plants would I think look nice and they would do well with low to moderate lighting. I would think a dozen neons and possibly some cherry shrimp would look nice. Hope some of this helps.

Azazel 08-17-2009 12:30 PM

Quote:

I've personally never used actinic lights since the plant experts all agree that plants do not grow well under them, so I would get rid of those. I agree with Mikaila31 that you need to significantly reduce the intensity of light over a 12g tank; otherwise algae will be rampant. The best plant growth light is full spectrum as M mentioned. A single tube over a 12g wuld be quite sufficient, whatever the wattage (probably a 15w, they are standard), a Life-Glo 2 is my preference for single tube tanks, or a Ultra-Sun or Tropic-Sun from Zoo Med.

When you say horizontally, do you mean like a carpet across the substrate, or horizontally as in Anubias? Anubias grows from a rhizome, which grows sort of at a 45 degree angle out with leaves arising along the rhizome, and the rhizome frequently divides as it spreads. Anubias is a very slow grower. I had one in my former 90g that grew 10+ years into a plant with about 3 feet of rhizome in different directions. You can break it apart and place the pieces where ever. It does not grow roots in the substrate, but attaches to wood and rocks like Java Fern. And yes, JF grows vertical, although it also spreads by a growing rhizome as well as daughter plants from the leaves.

Byron.
I mean a carpet across the substrate, I want something that doesn't grow more than 3 or 4 inches vertically, the Actinics are just for visual appeal, they don't emit very much light in the spectrum useful for plants, but the light they emit also isn't useful for algae so its kind of a non-issue I probably will disable them anyway though.

I think I have too much light so blocking out some of it with floating plants seems like a good idea :)

Byron 08-17-2009 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Azazel (Post 228726)
I mean a carpet across the substrate, I want something that doesn't grow more than 3 or 4 inches vertically, the Actinics are just for visual appeal, they don't emit very much light in the spectrum useful for plants, but the light they emit also isn't useful for algae so its kind of a non-issue I probably will disable them anyway though.

I think I have too much light so blocking out some of it with floating plants seems like a good idea :)

Here's a plant site with info on many plants. AquariumPlants.com Largest online sales / service site for the live aquarium plants & aquarium products community. Click on "Aquarium Plants" under Categories, then on "Foreground/Ground Cover" for several examples with photos and info.

Yes, I would disable the actinic; if you have proper plant light (full spectrum) algae will use it if the plants don't and/or nutrients aren't used by the plants; I can't see actinic lighting having any impact, since to do so would mean it has to somehow counter the full spectrum...probably not possible, but not something you'd want anyway.

Byron.


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