I need steps to my new aquarium.
I am planning on getting a 135 gallon tank. I want to have it planted since my Black ghost knife fish seem to love plants. I have already screwed up my 20 gl tank because I was unaware of cycling thankfully though my BGK and my sharks are fine and happy now. I would like a bunch of different plants from carpet type plants, tall plants and floating ones. What do I need to buy for the plants to grow from (stupid question maybe but I want to do this right) and how much or deep? What are the easiest plants to care for? Is cycling the same with the plants in the tank or do you do something different? My BGK like a darker tank so the floating ones will be blocking most of the light so the lower plants won't get a whole lot of light so I guess that also narrows down the types I should/can get. Do I need any chemicals or anything for the plants?
A lot of questions I know; but I want to have a happy and healthy tank.
Dwarf harigrass is a commonly used plant for the lawn effect, others are baby tears, dwarf baby tears, microswords, chain sowrd (less of a carpet just lots of clumps)
Substrate should be 2-3 inches if you plan on keeping swords like the amazon sword which has crazy long root systems. Otherwise 1.5-2 inches will be fine.
Normal gravel or sand will work, but there are some substrates out there like eco-complete that are specialized for plants. If you do the research soil can also be used.
Cycling still occurs although many introduce fish right away since plants greatly reduce the effects of the cycle. If you plant heavily, you can introduce fish right away.
Most plants are easy to care for if your water is right for them. Only a few more special kinds need more light.
Low light plants like anubiases are good for the bottom if you got lots of floating plants. Some swords will also do ok with subdued lighting.
Flourish comprehensive is the usual recommended for planted tanks. if u get swords, you could use root tabs to help them.
Since you plan on keeping it a dim tank you want to stay with low light plants. Anubias, most Cryptocoryne, and most Echinodorus. As for a floating plant there are lots of options there to two of my favorites are duckweed and pennywort the pennywort is actually a stem plant that can be planted or floated it looks nice either way. Of the Cryptocryne my favorite are the cryptocryne wenditt because it comes in three colors red, bronze, and green which give a nice contrast in the tank. Of the Echinodorus I love the amazon sword because it gets big, the ozelot sword because I love the green leaves with the red spots, and the Echinodorus Angustifolia "Vesuvius" because I love its twisted leaves. I have kept all of these, except the Echinodorus Angustifolia "Vesuvius" which I have ordered but not recieved yet, they have been very, very easy to grow. Also alot of the stem plants are very easy and they grow fast and can be trimmed to make more plants which I really like to.
As for the gravel the Eco-Complete is really good but I resently set up a soil base tank and it has amazed me the growth my plants have had in just the 2 week or so its been set up. But if you go with regular gravel it will work fine to just make sure you get small smooth gravel its better for the plants. I would go with a dark or natural color as it will make your fish look nice I don't think I would do black because it may make it hard to see you beautiful BGK.
Edit: Just wanted to add it will be cheaper for the plants if you get them online most of us on here order from sweetaquatics.com and aquariumplants.com.
You will need a liquid fertalizer I would recommend Seachem Flourish and if you go with normal gravel and get swords I would also suggest Seachem Root tabs because the sword will need the extra mierals and vitamins for there roots.
Also like Sincrisis stated if you put lots and lots of plants you will not have to worry about the cycle as the plants in a way will kind of automatically cycle the tank. For example when I set up my 55 gallon I put lots and lots of plants and that same day I put 7 golden barbs, 6 neon tetra, 2 honey sunset gourami, 2 peacock gudgeon, and 6 albino corys in the tank and I did not have any problem at all with ammonia, nitrites or nitrate and my fish were and still are in great health.
Sorry the post is long and please feel free to ask any questions we are here to help.
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