I've planted my tank! Questions....
In it a fit of bravery or madness, I decided to add more live plants to my 75-litre tank and because it had got to the stage where the plastic plants looked horrible compared to the real ones, I pulled all of the plastic plants out, so now I've only live ones in there.
I've got vallisneria, ambulia, a sword of some sort (I was told it was low-growing), a water sprite, and java moss.
The lights are what came with the tank, an aqua one AR-510. They are labelled PL-11W red/white and are compact fluorescent tubes.
I've read about getting a comprehensive fertilizer (but haven't been able to find one here - yet). I've only got Leaf Zone, which I note Byron doesn't recommend.
I'm hoping that the plants will grow, so I've planted them relatively sparsely (probably still too much, but I figure that I can always pull stuff out). As a consequence, there is less "stuff" in the tank for the fish to hide out in. Will this be an issue for them? Should I stick more stuff (more live plants or put some plastic ones back in) in immediately? There's still a lot going on on the substrate, it's just the middle and top of the water which hasn't as much in it as it did before.
If the whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen, what are the signs of things going horribly wrong? Anything to look out for?
Finally, about vacuuming the gravel. I obviously have to be careful not to uproot the plants, but do I still need to vacuum where I can, or do the plants need the muck in the gravel for their nutrients?
Thanks for any advice.
Without photos or details, it's hard to say if you've too many or too few plants. But it is preferable to plant more than fewer, within reason; as they grow you can always prune/thin. Stem plants need this regularly, every week often; rooted plants in the substrate and on wood or rock less if any, depending upon species. Some (Vallisneria) will send out runners once established, but it is easy to pull up daughter plants if they appear where you don't want them. I'm always doing this with my Sagittaria and Echinodorus tenellus in the 90g and Echinodorus quadricostatus in the 115g. Otherwise, they would within a couple weeks be throughout the substrate along the front, and I like to keep some open spots for feeding bottom fish.
Also, some plants do better, others don't, from tank to tank. Stick with the ones that do well, and remove those that don't after you've given them a few weeks/months.
I've no idea what those tubes are. The best for plant grow are full spectrum (around 6500K) and cool white (very slightly higher) in combination if you have two; with one tube I always use a 6700K full spectrum. These provide the necessary blue and red, but include green (the full spectrum that is) to balance so the fish and plant colours appear natural. Full spectrum is about equivalent to the colour of mid-day sun.
The reason I don't recommend Leaf Zone is because it only has two nutrients; where are the other 15 coming from? Granted, some may occur in tap water, some certainly in fish food, some from organics. But from my experiments with various ferts I can honestly recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. Second would be Nutrafin's Plant-Gro.
As for vacuuming the gravel, most aquarists with planted tanks never do, or rarely. I only do the exposed gravel along the front because that is where I feed the bottom fish. I never get past the first couple inches from the front glass in my 90g, it is a jungle and I haven't seen or touched the substrate in the year since I moved this tank last July. If the plants are healthy, the substrate will look after itself. There is a variety of bacteria down there, all doing their part in concert with the plant roots, water movement (bringing nutrients down and assisting the thermal currents), snails (Malaysian livebearing snails are incredible in planted tanks), etc.
Thanks, Byron. Here's a photo:
good luck with the planted tank. hopefully you and your fish will enjoy them
That's not too many, quite good I think. Nice dark substrate, excellent. The stem plants (Pennywort right rear, Wisteria left) will grow and grow in short order. Regular pruning, perhaps every two weeks or even every week, to keep them tidy but that is normal with stem plants. You pull the stems up and cut off the lower portion, keeping the better-looking upper portion (as long as you want them) and stick the cut ends back in the substrate.
Thanks sik80 and Byron. Byron, I thought the one on the left was supposed to be ambulia.
If I need to pull them up to prune them, I can always vacuum a bit when they're up if I think it needs it, but otherwise the plants can have a nice compost-y substrate to grow in. The java moss in the front is on driftwood, so it's easy to move to vacuum in front and underneath it.. It does seem quite mucky when I do it once a week so I might continue doing the front bit. That's where the cory food gets dropped, so there's probably some leftovers where they've eaten their pellets or wafers. I hope the plants grow. Fingers crossed. They look quite healthy so they should have at least a reasonable chance.
Ha, I think you're right. Sorry, took too quick a glance previously. The old eyes are playing tricks again.:roll: B.
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