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JohnnyD44 01-05-2010 04:24 PM

My first adventure into a planted tank....
Hey All,

I have finally decided to take the plunge into a planted tank...I've finally really narrowed down how I'd like my tank to look when it's all said and done. I've decided I want to go with some plants...not an insane amount, but a decent amount ( i adore you tanks byron)....I am going to be going with a couple dozen neon tetras, some corries and about 5-6 congo tetras as my center piece fish....i'm going to keep the gravel i have (white/tan), maybe slope it up towards the one side.....i think all that sounds pretty nice....whatta think??

Now my questions, before I just ask for any and all advice, I've done some research and let me see what y'all think of the following.....( i stole byrons plants...:-D)

--Two Amazon Sword Plants, probably across the back, as the look to grow quite big.... and would make a great back-scape...

--Echinodorus macrophyllus, maybe line 3 or 4 of these up across the front of the amazon sword plants

-- Echinodorus major in each front corners

I think I'll keep my huge sedimentary-looking rock in the middle of the tank and sorta form an arch around the rock.

I'm not sure how hard any of these plants to keep are...or what lighting requirements are for them. I also don't know if I need some sort of fertilizer under my current gravel.

I gotta get dinner goin for me and the wifey, but thats a start. Hopefully someone can give me some advice as to what I've chosen, or make corrections if absolutely none of that will work together haha...

Thanks everyone!


Angel079 01-05-2010 05:31 PM

I call it the Echi-Tank :-)

What size tank is that for?

The light a low wattage will do on these plants, I'd thrive for something around ~1wpg or less. What'll be important is the spectrum, I'd get some full spectrum daylight for them.

I can only recommend root tablets for the plants you've chosen, dep on which brand you chose to get 1 tablet per year will do.

On a quick side note be4 I run to dinner: The named fish you'll be stocking pref darker grounds, so you may wanna consider this now while its all still easier to change. Not only is that going to be more natural set up for them, but it'll also make the colors of your fish and Plants stick out more :-)

Hope dinner was good :-)

JohnnyD44 01-05-2010 06:44 PM

it's a setup for my 55G tank....I hope it's enough room...

When my light cools down for the night, I'll have to check what kind of wattage I have now...I know I have just a regular aquarium light....

and not to worry my background on the aquarium is already black :)

what about the subtrate? do i need something below the gravel?

thanks again!

Byron 01-05-2010 06:58 PM

Agree with Angel's suggestions. On the gravel, looking at your photos, if the tan is the gravel in the 20g fresh water I would say that is fine if buying new gravel is a concern. The white in the 55g arctic tank I would certainly not use. First thought is it may be calcareous and not inert; but even if it is inert, it is in my view far too bright for the fish you will presumably be keeping in the planted tank, and the plants themselves will look better with a darker substrate. The tan is very similar to sands in some of the Rio Negro tributaries that are home to corydoras species so this is quite workable. Corys over the white gravel would not I suspect be very comfortable. Bearing in mind the relatively dim light of all such streams, the reflected light from that white gravel is bound to have a negative impact on the fish.

A comment on the rock, place it off-centre. Any object placed dead centre looks contrived. Large rock and wood pieces should be off-centre whether there is just one or several. Any object in the centre immediately draws attention to itself by virtue of being centre-stage so to speak.

Echinodorus major is a better background plant that the other two species because the large long leaves tend to grow vertical from the base. E. bleheri (the "normal" looking swords in my tanks) tend to spread like a "V" as they grow larger, and E. macrophyllus is basically floating leaves on long stems so a wonderful plant for sides and off-centre but not much in the way of covering the background. My daughter plants are now the size of the parent in my 115g, and as I suspected the effect is taking shape nicely of having a vertical stand of stems for the fish to swim through.

Details can follow later on some things. I am actually working on a comprehensive article on my approach to low-tech natural setups, I hope to get this done shortly and this should help explain the overall method. I don't mind emailing it directly to you, it is in Office Word format. PM me if interested.


Angel079 01-05-2010 07:12 PM

I can only support B there, not only on Cory but many other fish as well, they appear more secure in dark set ups (not meaning the tank being dark so you can't see it, but dark substrate, dark background) once I noticed the difference I started changing all tanks to either brown or black as you can see on my tanks.

I don't find that too much plants at all for a standard size 55g (unless you have a 55g tall). Had you maybe considered something like Narrow leaf Chain Sowrd for the fronts? Won't only nicely match your set up IMO but the lil buggers sure like hiding in it too and swimming through it etc. I can shoot you a close up pic if you don't know its looks.

Just check your light bulb, will have a brand name, wattage and product name on it eg Hagen Flora Glo 15w. You may already have something workable for plants there.

JohnnyD44 01-06-2010 05:53 AM

Thanks everyone....I will first start by making the switch to a darker/more tan gravel.....I'll look into the plant advice and see what I wanna to google images!!! haha

as for my lighting = Aqua Glo 20W T8 is whats in there now, two of them....each 24" for a total of 48", connected end to end...

WisFish 01-06-2010 08:00 AM

You may need more light for a 55gal tank. I had that light for years. The only thing I could grow were crypts. A twin-tube T-8 fixture would be better.

Angel079 01-06-2010 08:12 AM

Agree with WishFish, I also have a twin 4ft'er over the 55g, works well for the plants there.

JohnnyD44 01-06-2010 08:28 AM

Angel, do you have a link for your light? i can just order it online probably

thanks everyone!

Angel079 01-06-2010 08:58 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Uhm here's pic's of the hood when I first built it.
Inside it is a normal shop light fixture 4ft long with 2x florescent's. As quite some others on here, I acquire my tank lights at Lowes, most them are daylights @6500K and 30-40W. As long as you have a balnce of some "cool-blue" lights and some warmer tones more towards the yellow-reddish ends you're all set.
Feel free to check out any of my tanks, they all been growing under "homestore lights" for yrs now, speaks for itself IMO.
I recently started buying the Lows brand bulbs, like them a lot, but you can also get Salvina, Phillips - They make the daylights too.;-)

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