Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Help a beginner setup his first planted tank! (

saxenamohitm 02-25-2007 01:13 PM

Help a beginner setup his first planted tank!
Hey there,
I'm really glad that i joined this forum (a few minutes back) and by the looks of it i now for sure i would get loads of information and knowledge about fish keeping and i'm really looking forward to it.
To start with, i would just like to give a brief about my tank and my experience and then the questions i want to ask..
I'm, very new into this hobby, only about 14-15 months old. I've a 4ft by 2 ft by 1 ft tank (approx 60 gallons) and its an unplanted one.
I'd started with all the hardy fishes and had lost many of them during the initial phase of my learning curve but have now managed to keep my fishes healthy offlate after understanding the basics of the ecosystem of the tank and its working.
I'm now really keen on setting up a planted tank. And i have a few questions bout it.
I only have this one tank and no hospital tanks, i treat my fishes or keep them in a bucket only meant for them.
I previously had these ceramic colourful big sized gravel which i've changed to golden brown river sand (course sand)
My filteration system consists of an Undergravel Filter and a turbo filter.
Now these are my queries:

I previously only had a turbo filter but now since i have a UG filter too i need to know the schedule of my filteration. Presently my UG filter runs almost throughout the day and turbo filter for 30-60 mins a day. Water is crystal clear. Please suggest if there should be any changes made regarding this.
Also since i have course sand i'm now worried my UG filter might clog up if the pores get packed with finer particles of do i solve this issue?
Today was the first time that i siphoned out the water after i changed my gravel to sand (its been a week since i changed gravel) and i found finer particles being siponed out..these particles are pretty fine...should i avoid siphoning the sand to prevent the finer sand from removing itself from the tank? or would it help me in the long run to keep my filter unclogged?

Introduction of Plants
I'm planning to plant dwarf hairgrass first in my tank and before buying it i need to solve a few issues
1. I need to know the exact method of planting a plant in a tank..
2. I already have fishes in my tank and i dont know where to keep them while the plants are introduced so any suggestions on that
3. Many of the fishes i have are grazers like red caps, black moore, silver dollars and i dont know if they would really prove to be harmful for my plnts (i dont really wanna get rid of them but if i really have to i might cuz i really wanna setup a planted tank now)
4. How important is laterite soil and CO2 for a planed tank cuz right now i dont have provisions for either.

Its gettin late here n i have plenty more questions but i guess i'll ask them later after i sort out these questions from u guys!
Hope to recieve some replies soon...

Rue 02-25-2007 02:12 PM

I'm planning a larger planted aquarium as well...although I've had plants in aquariums for years (not the same thing)...

I see two major issues you'll need to deal with:

1. UGFs are not to be used in avplanted aquarium, plant roots don't like to be aerated...however you might want to consider a substrate heater.

2. Plants like a gentle powerheads or strong water flows...

3. Goldfish eat most plants, so they're not recommended in a planted aquarium...

4. Despite the success some people have had mixing cold water/warm water fish...goldfish and tropicals should be kept separate for a number of reasons...

The laterite is should be put in place before the gravel...although you could get by without it if you fertilize regularil...a CO2 diffusor is supposed to help heaps, but I'm going to see how my plants do before I worry about one...lights are the other big issue...planted tanks need more light and I'm looking into the best options there at the moment too...

You can leave your fish in the tank while you plant it...shouldn't matter...don't plant too many plants at once...see how they do before adding more so you can correct any problems you may have...

I hope you don't get rid of your can set them up in a different tank...

Hope that's of some help! :D

saxenamohitm 02-26-2007 06:17 AM

Hye there...thanx for the reply..
I'm actually from india where the normal room temperature doesnt fall below 22C even in winters!! :lol: so i dont really think i'll need a substrate heater..
I myself agree on the laterite soil part but i got to know about it after i had my gravel in place in my tank...Also it was my LFS who recommended me that i have a UG filter...but it struck me now about the sand compacting and choking the filter...i asked some of my other frnds too and they suggested me to add some larger gravel to hlp with the filteraton process but now again u've raised the point of aeration of roots which is undesirable for plants and this has got me confused again..

About the goldfish, i'm not sure bout setting up a new tank so i might find someone i know and gift those fishes!

fish_4_all 02-26-2007 02:22 PM

The undergravel filter will defeat a lot of things that make plants thrive. Plant roots do like to be aerated but not to the extent that an UGF will do. UGF also allow the roots to grow through the plates and when the roots leave the substrate they will rot and possible kill the roots to the entire plant. Plants can be grown with an UGF but you won't get the kind of success you want and it will likely become frustrating over a short period of time. If you can remove it, do so now before the mulm under the plates gets too bad and get an HOB filter or Canister.

There are plants that prefer a current and most of them are the tougher stem plants. Floating plants hate currents and plants like Hygro, Hornwort and Elodea don't do well in them.

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