To Plant or Not . . .
I have been considering turning my 75 gallon tank into a planted tank. I was wondering what this would require. Do I need any special equipment? I've never had a planted tank but I think they are beautiful. Any suggestions would be great.
planted tanks give you another thing to do in fish keeping, it is not tropical fish keeping, it is a completly different world of aquatic gardening, my opinon, yes go planted.
You dont need any special equipment, but there are things to get.
First as a neccesity you will need a strong lighting system, a 2wpg (2 watts per gallon) is good for basic plants, 3wpg is even better, most full on aquatic gardeners use 4wpg as well. Since you are a begginer, i would suggest either 2wpg or 3wpg.
There are special equipment that you can have though, you could either buy or make your own carbon dioxide injector to artificially raise the carbon dioxide levels in the tank. This extra carbon dioxide will help the plant grow. Another thing many gardeners like is fertilizer, as an obvious fact fertilizer helps the plant grow. These two things are optional but you can do it if you like.
If you are going planted, you should buy some gravel that is specifically made for planted tanks.
With plants you also need to choose fish more carefully as some fish will rip the plants apart.
Switching over to a planted tank can be easy as just getting a stronger light or as complicated as new substrate, high light, pressurized CO2, dosing of fertilizers and a filter change.
First thing to do is to go HERE and HERE and HERE to get an idea of what kinds of plants you may want and what they require as far as light and other needs.
Also check HERE to see what you need as far as light for your tank. Scroll down and input your tank dimensions to find out what you ened for each light levels and this will help you determine what you need to get to grow what you want or help you decide how technical you want to go.
Substrate options are numerous but what type of plants will determine what type of substrate you actually need.
Re: To Plant or Not . . .
IMHO planted tanks are more aesthetically pleasing than tanks without plants.
I have found that growing the "easy care level" plants is not difficult (if it were I would not have thriving plants at my experience level).
Plants utilize nitrates for nutrients. I believe my tank being planted is one of the reasons I have been able to keep the nitrate concentration in my tank at typically fairly low values (nominally less than 15).
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