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New Tank - Live Plants or not
I introduced myself in the "Meet the Community" section. :)
I am trying to decide if I want to go the live plant route when I set up my new tank or not. I have never had a tank with live plants, but do know that if it is kept right, it is best for the fish. I was reading through some threads and have learned a few things and a few that I had already figured. I am not sure on the correct amount of aeration/water movement and filtration that is best for plants. I read that it is best not to use charcoal with plants, but unsure of the drawbacks to not using it, if there are any. I may be the type that would want a little more water movement than what would be good for the plants. I do know that some fish require calmer water than others. I guess I should decide on what type of fish and then decide on plants or no plants. I think that if I decide on Angels for my main fish, then live plants would be a good choice.
Please offer any pros and cons to live plants and why you like them or not like them. Thanks!
Welcome to the forum, hope you'll enjoy yourself here!!!!
Live plants is def the way to go IMO. There's many different route you can go about this, from intense lighting and daily additions of fertilizers. To lower tech (like my tank) with appropriate plant lights and no ferts and just a regular filter. I have various different filters on my tanks due to sizes, the small tanks have Sponge filters which I love for small planted tank (eg 10g) the 45g for example has a nice working and quiet internal filter and the 55g has a Eheim canister on it.
The main reason you don't want air stone in the tank for high movement by the filter outlet is mainly due to the fact it will drive out the CO2 of the tank and the plants need that, so not driving it out enhances their growth.
Feel free to look at my tanks on the left here next to the 'user' tap is one called aquariums, you can find all my tanks with pictures there and they're all planted.
The biggest thing, regardless which way you're going to set yours up is *balance* if you have high lights you need higher/ additional nutritions for the tank, lower lights less fet's etc. But its all real simple and often the way its discussed in detail does make it seem complicated, but truthfully it is not.
Also a point that shouldn't be neglected when setting up for a planted tank is the substrate: You want to use fine gravel or sand, not these super big pebbles they sell these days at the stores, that's not too good for plants to root down.
Any questions, just ask, there's ton folks on here with planted tanks :-)
The point about the gravel is one I've seen made alot - is there a particular reason the plants favour it?
IMO there's two reasons why not to have large sized pebble style gravel:
1) For plants its easier to root down and attach themselves quicker in finer substrate (such as fine grain gravel or sand) which avoids the issue of them drifting up on you while doing your weekly w/c. As for stem plants is almost impossible due to less roots on the end of the stems but more roots along the stem itself, I pers never heard of anyone with large gravel that does not have them come up every single w/c and pretty much has to replant each time (would be way too much hassle for my taste).
2) Larger gravel enables any given foods to get stuck between the large pebbles and more often then not while doing a vacuum you're pushing it further between the cracks between the rocks rather then getting it out. This 'left overs' will create/ enable several issues to develop in the tank over time (algae, rise in NO's etc). Having finer gravel built more like a solid surface w/out these cracks for the foods and other debris to get into and you can easly run your vac right over the gravel, suck it all up and done, hassle free.
And last but not least IMO it just looks better too, I don't like to see gravel the size of my fish...that just seems outta proportion :-)
Thank you for your helpful response and welcome. Your fish tanks look great! It appears that you have a big addiction. ;-) I ended up getting several tanks the last time I got back into fish....got really addicted. I had six fish tanks in a small appartment and then when we moved to a house I got bigger tanks but not as many -- only three....100 gallon and 30 gallon hex and a 60 gallon hex (can't remember for sure if it was a 60 but I think it was).
I am going to have to do some more research and decide on live plants or not. I was reading about gravel cleaning with plants and that was my concern as well. I hate to have to worry about not only disturbing fish but plants too. I am sure I will have more questions as I study this...can't think of them all right now.
Thanks again. I will post pics of my new tank when I get it and set it up. I will post pictures of my daughter's 14 gallon tank once it is cycled. We are cycling it with fish -- 3 Phantom Tetras. I sure hope they can get through it. I hate this part. It has only been running since last Saturday. I put the fish in late Sunday afternoon. So far, so good.
I definitely wouldn't gravel cleaning deter you from going planted. It's such a healthier environment for the fish to have plants in there. Closer to their natural environment. And once the plants are established you just push them gently out of the way. The only ones that float up during my cleaning are the ones I have to take out to prune anyway. : )
When I see tanks that have fake plants in them, they just don't have the same beauty that planted tanks do (I'm sure I just offended a lot of people with that comment--sorry!) I guess I'm just a nature lover.
I do, however, wish I had read Angel's comment about larger gravel BEFORE I had set up my 10 gallon tank (just yesterday) about the food getting trapped. Aarg.
I'm not addicted...I just need different tanks so I can experience with different set up's & stocks :-D
What size are you planning to set up this time?
If you chose fine gravel, you won't have an issue (neither with cleaning nor with plants).
Oh yes we loveee pictures here, the more the better :lol:
What Steph is ref to there: When I gravel vac any given tank, I generally only do the front and/ or "empty" spaces, I don't even go into the back between plants. Old leaf's and such will break down and create mulm, which acts over time (doesn't built up in a few weeks alone) pretty much like a manure (sp?) layer in your garden, and just like it does outside with pretty flowers, its also helpful in the tank.
@Steph....Whats the problem in your 10g??? I seen pictures didn't look so big / propped out at me....what size did you put in it? And why was I thinking you were gonna do sand...I must have mixed it up with someone else :-?
Don't worry about gravel vacuuming a lot with live plants. The fish waste and food, as long as it is not a lot is beneficial to the plants. In an El Natural tank with no filtration at all, only plants as the filters, all the waste is left on the bottom and water changes are done once every 6 months or so. Look up Diana Walstad. She is the author of a book about her El Natural method. It's not for everyone but there is a lot of good info. It all come down to a balance. Too much waste and food can lead to problems. Having lots of plants from the start is the best situation, from what I've been gathering.
Live plants is a great idea :)
and Holly, when I first started (granted, that wasn't very long ago at all) - I knew nothing about plants. I bought some aponogeton bulbs and tossed 'em in, that was it, lol. (it worked too)
Anyway, definitely check out some websites (or stores) to look at the various types of plants, there are a lot to choose from and some of them may grow faster/slower, live longer, etc than others - so make sure you get something you like - that will also work with the fish you decide to put in.
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